Coming off another tough loss at the hands of the Monta Ellis and the Milwaukee Bucks, the Warriors face the New York Knicks at Oracle Arena. This is a little over a week since their last matchup where Stephen Curry scorched the Knicks for 54 point albeit in a loss. The Dubs are looking to right, what appears to be, a quickly sinking ship that is their playoff hopes.Over the last 12 games, the Warriors are 3-9 averaging 97.5 points while giving up 101.3 to their opposition. The defense that existed early in the season has gone MIA (Missing in Action, not be confused with Miami) while the Warriors appear to be a step behind their opponents in losing hustle plays and 50-50 balls with regularity.
For the Dubs, it will be imperative to take better shots than they have more recently. The worst offenders have been Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes for the most part. It seemed that Barnes made a conscious effort to try and correct that against the Bucks; but, Thompson, after hitting his first few shots, continued to bomb away from the outside rather than adjusting after they quit falling. Against the Knicks and their defensive anchor Tyson Chandler, look for the Dubs to try and get out and run rather than allowing the Knicks to set up their half court defense. Chandler dominated the paint last game with 28 boards (10 offensive) while limiting the Dubs to single shot possessions. It may be Carl Landry starting again because David Lee is still working through a knee bruise sustained during the Houston game Friday so the bench will need to provide additional support upfront and in the box score.
On the other side of the ball, Barnes will once again be a focal point as he will likely draw the assignment of guard Carmelo Anthony, who is still a game time decision with a knee injury. Nevertheless, Barnes will have to do what he can to try and make it difficult for Anthony while not yielding silly fouls and unnecessary trips to the free throw line unlike last game (35 points and 15 free throw attempts).
In the last meeting, despite the heroics of an unconscious Stephen Curry, the Warriors could not deal handle the Knicks down the stretch as they gave up threes to JR Smith and inside buckets to Amare Stoudemire (14 pts in 20 minutes off the bench). The Dubs don’t have to contend with Stoudemire as he is out for the next 6 weeks after having knee surgery. But figuring out a way of handling Smith and Steve Novak from deep may be the difference in this game.
Keys to the Game
Landry Effect: Carl Landry had a solid game starting for David Lee Saturday with 18 points and 10 boards. With Lee questionable and likely limited if he does play, the Dubs will need another performance like that if they are going to be in the game.
Second Chance Points: Its like a broken record. But, if you limit second chance points, you play fewer possessions on defense and you don’t trail in total shots taken. Tyson Chandler, alone, got the Knicks 10 extra chances to the Warriors’ five. So when you consider that the Warriors took 15 fewer shots and lost by four, the second chance opportunities definitely played a role in the loss.
Encore: Can Steph Curry abuse the older Knicks guards again? We all hope so and it could hopefully spark the Dubs going forward as their playoff hopes appear to be fading away. I say he goes for at least 30 tonight.
Prediction: Don’t see the Warriors correcting their defensive and rebounding issues. Same ol’ story as recent games. 101-95 Knicks.