With the Memphis Grizzlies losing the Portland Trail Blazers and the Phoenix Suns losing to the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday night, the Golden State Warriors had a great chance to solidify their playoff positioning.
A win against the lowly New York Knicks would’ve put the Warriors at 46-27, three games up in the loss column on the ninth place Grizzlies.
After the first quarter, the Warriors looked like they were going to do just that. They came out on fire to start the game, shooting 52.6% from the field (and 5-8 from three) en route to a 10-point lead. Everyone had gotten into the act, with Stephen Curry only taking two shots during the whole quarter (along with two free throws) and accounting for only eight of the teams 32 points.
However, as soon as the second quarter started, things started to go awry. Within the first five minutes, the Knicks had tied the game and the Warriors offense slowed down to a crawl. Almost every possession resulted in an isolation as the shot clock wound down, and the Warriors started off by missing seven of their first eight shots. By the time Mark Jackson brought the starters back in the game, the Warriors were down by three and were forced to try to win the game again. They were never able to get their groove back that they had found in the first quarter, and the Knicks were back in the game.
All in all, when the second quarter ended, the Warriors found themselves down by 12 points. While the Knicks were hitting shot after shot, the Warriors were struggling to get the ball on the rim, as they finished 5-21 in the quarter, including 0-6 from behind the arc.
The second quarter would define the rest of the game. Other than Curry, every Warrior struggled to find the offense they had in the first quarter, shooting just 10-41 the rest of the game. Curry’s heroics nearly won the Warriors the game, but overall, they just couldn’t overcome such a poor offensive performance.
- While the Warriors defense struggled in the second quarter, that was not the reason they lost the game. They only gave up 33 second half points and a total of 55 points in the first, third, and fourth quarters combined.
- Coming into the game, if someone would’ve said the Knicks would win the game, expectations would be that it was the result of a monster game by Carmelo Anthony. However, Melo was held to only 19 points on 21 shots, while other players such as J.R. Smith (21 points on 47% shooting) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (15 points on 50% shooting) carried the load.
- Harrison Barnes’ miserable month continued. Barnes managed only five points on seven shots in 21 minutes, and posted a team low -18 in those minutes. One has to wonder why he continues to see such heavy minutes.
- This game was eerily reminiscent of Curry’s 54 point game in Madison Square Garden last year. While Curry didn’t go off to the same extent as last year and the Knicks are certainly worse than they were, it was another game where the Warriors, other than Curry, couldn’t get anything going and ended up losing a heartbreaker. In that game, Curry attributed for just over 50% of the teams total points; last night he attributed for almost 40%.
- Entering the game, Curry had a league-leading 81 games with at least four assists, but only managed one during his 41 minutes of playing. However, that was of no fault of his own; it’s hard to get assists when your teammates can’t hit a shot.
- Andre Iguodala got to the line a season high 1o times, which is a good sign moving forward. If the Warriors want to be a threat in the playoffs, they need Iguodala to be more aggressive on offense and there were signs of that last night.
What’s on Deck
The Warriors embark on a quick two game road trip starting tomorrow in Dallas followed by a back-to-back in San Antonio. Tomorrow’s game is especially important given Dallas is right behind the Warriors in the Western Conference standings.