[Video] Too Much Firepower: Warriors 112, Knicks 105

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The Knicks didn’t lay down yesterday afternoon for the Warriors. They fought hard and kept it close until the sheer depth and talent of the Warriors pulled away in the fourth quarter behind timely shots from Klay Thompson (29 points) and Steph Curry (31 points) to hand NY their second consecutive loss. Even with Durant out, no one gave us much of a chance to pull this off. However, the game did have some positives for our younger players.

PORZINGIS FIGHTS THROUGH ADVERSITY: KP struggled at times to get his shot from the Warriors’ physical play, but he never looked discouraged and kept fighting. For that reason, he managed a double double with 24 points and 15 rebounds. This is significant progress because last year Draymond Green completely locked him up. The rebounding is most promising considering at times he was boxing out a bruiser like David West to get them.

BAKER AND HOLIDAY: These two combined for 19 points on 54% shooting off the bench. They were pivotal in keeping the game close once the starters sat. In his 23 minutes, Baker was a +10.

D-ROSE LEADS THE WAY: As has been the trend this season, Derrick Rose gets up for marquee PG matchups. The refs gave up him fair shake on calls, resulting in him going 10/11 from the charity stripe. Overall, Rose finished with 28 points. Unfortunately, the reason we normally lose when Rose leads all scorers is that the offensive flow sucks and others are frozen out. In this case, Melo only managed 15 points on 6/12 shooting and Lance Thomas, who’s played well as a starter in recent games, was held scoreless over 27 minutes.

4th QUARTER EXECUTION: With 5:56 left in the game, New York was only down 97-93. But the Warriors showed why they’re the odds-on favorite to win the title. Thompson and Curry had some dagger three-pointers coupled with Green getting to the line. Golden State also tightened up their defense to force turnovers.

 

Undermanned Knicks No Match for Warriors, Lose 103-90

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No Melo. No Rose. No chance. The Knicks came into this game without two of their best offensive players and were overwhelmed by the dazzling passing of Golden State in 103-90 loss at Oracle Arena.

To be competitive, the Knicks at the very least needed monster games from Kristaps Porzingis and Brandon Jennings. Unfortunately, the tight Warriors defense quickly showed that wasn’t on the cards for anyone wearing New York blue.

GREEN STILL A STEP-AHEAD OF KP: Porzingis had made much of wanting to improve after struggling twice against Draymond Green last year. This first meeting showed KP still has much to learn. Although Green had a bad shooting night (5 points, 2/12), he was a +18 on the night largely due to his assists (7) and rebouning (11). Porzingis airballed several times due to Green’s physical defense, and finished with a meek 8 points (4/15 shooting) and 5 rebounds.

SHARING MEANS DOMINATION: The Warriors destroyed the Knicks with 41 assists. The ball movement allowed Golden State to get repeated open shots on the perimeter and countless uncontested layups. Javale McGee got to camp out at the rim for easy lobs (17 points). If it wasn’t for Kevin Durant (17 points, 7/18) and Steph Curry (8 points, 3/14) having off shooting nights, this would have easily been another 30-point blowout loss. Klay Thompson lead all scorers with 25 points (4/10 from downtown)

YOUNG GUYS PLAYING HARD: The depleted roster meant a few guys got significant playing time. Ron Baker was 6/7 (13 points) in 23 minutes, and got a few compliments from Durant for his play. Justin Holiday had 15 points and Willy Hernangomez nearly notched a double double (8 points, 10 rebounds).

BAD TIMING: The bad game on Tuesday in Phoenix gives us back to back losses and drops our record to 14-12. The Knicks are still #3 in the East, but that position is perilous. Saturday’s game in Denver is now a must-win. We can only hope that Rose or Melo (hopefully both) will be ready to go.

[Video] Drama in Oakland – Knicks 89, Warriors 84

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After two bad blowouts on this West Coast trip to the Lakers and Suns, the Knicks gave themselves a playoff gut check last night against the Warriors in pulling out a critical road game to pull within a game of Atlanta for the last playoff spot. Like most games this season, the Knicks played good basketball in spurts and had an atrocious fourth quarter that nearly lead to the game being stolen in the final minutes. Luckily, New York got defense from a surprising source to keep their post-season hopes alive.

 

CURRY ON FIRE, BUT NOT WHEN IT MATTERED MOST: Steph Curry lit the Knicks up, going for 32 points (10/21, 6/12 from downtown). Raymond Felton was once again the victim, getting killed on screens and not being able to close out. Pablo Prigioni got ran around in circles during the fourth and couldn’t keep up with the roaming sharp-shooter, allowing for an open three that tied the game at 81 with 2:42 remaining.

The game hung in the balance with both teams exchanging bad fouls and clutch shots that lead to the Knicks clinging to a 87-84 lead after two free throws from Carmelo Anthony. Curry got the ball with five seconds left and went up for a three. Felton closed out well on him, forcing Curry into a bad pass which Shannon Brown picked off for a clear path foul that iced the game. The play was reminiscent of last year at the Garden when Felton forced a late turnover on Curry to spoil Steph’s 54-point effort.

Despite the overall futility of Felton game numbers (2 points, 4 assists), Felton’s game-ending play might be the one that saves our playoff hopes.

 

MELO THE INEFFICIENT: Whether it was due to Andre Iguodala’s defense or mentally not being engaged, Melo had a struggle-filled night from the field. Foul trouble limited him to 10 minutes in the first half. In the second, he chucked numerous long jumpers completely out of the offensive flow. At one point in the fourth, he was 0/5.

Starting at the 4-minute mark, our leader settled down and made several key plays. The first one was dishing to Tim Hardway Jr. for a three-pointer that made it 81-75. At the 1:23 mark, he nailed a tough mid-range jumper that pushed the Knicks ahead 85-81. And at the 45 second mark, he drew a shooting foul on Iguodala and swished two free throws to make it 87-84. It wasn’t pretty, as New York only managed 15 points in the fourth, but Melo was another catalyst that willed this win through.

 

JR n STAT: With Melo sitting most of the first half, JR Smith carried the load with a deadly and varied offense. Whether driving to the lane for circus shots or bombing threes, our reigning Sixth Man of the Year couldn’t be stopped. His hot hand sparked a 15-0 run to enter halftime with a 56-44 lead.

While Stoudemire had a seesaw game on the offensive front (5/14, 15 points), but he took full advantage of David Lee’s absence. Stat grabbed 13 rebounds with six of them coming on the offensive glass. He was key in helping the Knicks not blow their lead in the third, and provided strong minutes in the fourth. He was briefly sat for a few minutes in favor of Tyson Chandler, but Coach Woodson quickly realized his error and let Stat close out the game.

 

DEFENSE AND LUCK: The Knicks had some strong defensive moments in the first half. Their close-outs and help defense limited the Warriors to 35% shooting overall. What’s a little deceiving is that the Warriors had plenty of open shot opportunities in the fourth (particularly Klay Thompson), but just couldn’t covert. The aforementioned Thompson was 3/11 from three.

 

The Knicks wrap on their West Coast swing tonight at 9 p.m. in Utah. Like all the remaining games, this is one is a “must-win.”

[Video] Are You Not Entertained?! Curry & Chandler Post Career Highs, Knicks Win Thriller Over Warriors

Golden State Warriors' Curry drives between New York Knicks' Martin and Prigioni in their NBA basketball game in New York

Games like this will have you beside yourself. Warriors point guard Steph Curry walked into the Garden last night, became possessed, and put on one of the most amazing shooting displays I’ve ever seen. I think I speak for every Knicks fan when I say I’m thankful we only have to see this kid twice a year (We damn near got a repeat of the infamous “Double Nickel”). But luckily we had our own beast last night in Tyson Chandler, along with high-level scoring from Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith to pull out an important home victory. While the game wasn’t decided until the final seconds, the Knicks made some crucial adjustments to pull this one out.

 

CHANDLER HAS A GAME FOR THE AGES:  With no David Lee to counteract him in the middle, Tyson Chandler was feasting from the opening tip. Our man in the middle had 13 rebounds in the first quarter along with seven points. He never let up throughout the entire game and snatched 10 offensive rebounds and ended up with a career high of 28 rebounds (the most by a Knicks player in over 20 years).

While we can’t expect Chandler to grab that many rebounds regularly, the team definitely needs that high energy as the defense begins and ends with him.

 

FELTON TAKES A BEATING BUT PROVES HIS WORTH: For most of this game poor Raymond Felton was getting the Ike-Tina Turner treatment from Curry. Sometimes it was Curry taking advantage of the Knicks’s overall poor transition defense and popping pull-up treys off fast breaks. Other times it was beating Felton off the dribble and getting to the rim or nailing short jumpers. At halftime, the kid had 27 points and was 4/6 from downtown.

Curry dropped 11 points on Felton’s head in the third and a three-pointer briefly gave them the lead (67-65) with over 7 minutes left. Felton responded with his own three that helped NY get back in front 77-73, but Curry continued blitzing from downtown. He had four more treys (one being an absolute dagger with just 4 seconds left on the shot clock to put the Warriors up 103-102).

At this point, you’d think Felton would have been sufficiently demoralized. But the man remained focused even after missing two wide-open momentum threes and bricking two free throws. On the other end, he finally succeeded in pushing Curry off the three-point line and forced him into a jumper he was able to block. The key defensive play resulted in a score off a JR Smith jumper to make it 107-105. Felton would later steal a simple inbounds pass to burn more time off the clock and even though he bricked two more crucial free throws, he secured his own offensive rebound to kill additional time.

His stat line overall doesn’t jump out at you (10 pts on 3/10 shooting, 4 assists), but Felton’s 4 steals were invaluable.

 

JR FROM DOWNTOWN: The only Knick consistently hitting from downtown last night was JR Smith, who had a great game on 10/19 shooting (6/11 from the arc). Smith is much better from the arc when he catches and shoots as opposed to a bunch of dribbling. He was quick with the trigger and seemed to have a timely triple every time Curry started feeling himself. And another overlooked contribution from JR was his five aggressive rebounds, several on them in the key fourth quarter.

 

STAT CORRECTS 1ST HALF WOES: Amar’e Stoudemire came in with a dunk late in the first quarter and promptly caught two cheap fouls. He picked up his third early in the second and got a tech for mocking the referee. Wasn’t solely his fault, but Stat’s problems were huge in the second unit going scoreless for six minutes. That allowed Golden State to make a run behind Curry’s hot hand to tie midway in the second and only be down 58-53 at halftime.

The third was a little better but Stat too often found himself switched onto the perimeter on defense. The fourth was different with Stat, Melo and Chandler playing at the same time. Melo made it a point to look for Stat when he drew double teams, resulting in Amar’e getting several easy dunks.

While the rebounding (4) could have been better, Stat ended up with a very solid 14 points on 6/7 shooting.

 

MELO’S 35 POINTS: Melo went 10/26 but there’s more behind those numbers. Yes, he took a few bad shots (two very ball iso ball possessions late in the fourth), but other times it was the result of the offense being stagnant and the guards passing to him late in the shot clock looking to be bailed out. With his shooting erratic, he got to the line (13-15) and moved the ball to the open man (Felton, Stat etc.) and notched 8 assists. Overall he made the right decisions, and his late three-pointer and post-up jumper are two of the baskets that took this game from Golden State.

 

WOODY’S HEAD-SCRATCHER: Coach Woodson left me dumbfounded with the decision to leave Felton on Curry. A few times JR got the assignment, but it wasn’t until Shumpert got on him that we got a breather from the three-point barrage. Granted, no one was going to be stopping Curry last night, but at least Shumpert would have made him work a little harder, as he did in the second quarter in being physical.  Shump made his defensive presence known all the night to the tune of 6 steals and securing a key turnover late in the fourth — he and Chandler forced Jarrett Jack into a baseline trap resulting in a travel.

Outside of that, the most important decision Woody did right was making sure Jason Kidd and Novak had nice seats on the bench as their contributions were nil.

 

IT’S A TEAM GAME: In all the marveling about Curry’s 54 points, people forget that basketball is a team sport for a reason. The rest of the starters combined for 5 points at halftime and 13 points for the game. The team outside of Curry had 51 points. Once the ball got taken out of Steph’s hands down the stretch, the Knicks victory was sealed.

 

JASON KIDD IS MIKE BIBBY STATUS: I get no joy out of saying that, but Kidd should be in the doghouse for the foreseeable future. The man cannot hit an open shot to save his life — he bricked four wide open threes and couldn’t get anything going. I do think Kidd gets out of this slump, but for now he needs a mental and physical rest… on the bench.

 

K-MART’S WELCOMED DEFENSE: Kenyon Martin had a very limited 5 minutes of work in the second quarter. But in that stretch we saw why he should have a nice place on this team. He got switched off on Curry and forced him into a pass and later on covered up Novak getting burned with some timely help defense. If Woody insists on playing Stat and Novak at the same time, a guy like Martin can help tremendously in covering the defensive mistakes those two are prone to make.

The Knicks get to enjoy their victory today but need to get refocused on Friday when they face the Wizards, who embarrassed them earlier in the month.