Game Preview: Golden State Warriors vs. New York Knicks
Now that Steph Curry’s 54-point performance against the Knicks is a bit more of a distant memory, we can focus on the fundamentals of the Warriors-Knicks matchup instead of overly reminiscing about the Warriors point guard’s career-best performance. (Though that’s fun to do too.)
More recently, the Dubs beat the Knicks handily earlier this year, behind another impressive performance by the Warriors backcourt. Curry picked up where he left off from the season before by registering a triple-double…in three quarters. Klay Thompson added 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting.
The Splash Brothers combined for 10 three-pointers that game (each “brother” had five treys), which was simply a continuation of the poor perimeter defense that has plagued the Knicks this season. Only two teams (Cleveland and Philadelphia) allow more threes per game than New York, which allows opponents to shoot the fourth-highest percentage from beyond the arc in the NBA.
It wasn’t just outside shooting that helped Golden State to the victory, however. The Warriors outscored the Knicks 44-32 in the paint behind some stellar inside play from Marreese Speights and Jermaine O’Neal, who combined for 27 points.
The Warriors might need similar bench production this time around to beat the Knicks, who have lost three of four but are also coming off a recent eight-game winning streak that included an impressive win over the Pacers. Don’t expect Golden State to hold New York to 37.9 percent shooting again.
New York Knicks (30-43) Projected Lineup:
PG: Raymond Felton
SG: J.R. Smith
SF: Carmelo Anthony
PF: Amar’e Stoudemire
C: Tyson Chandler
Key Bench Players: Iman Shumpert, Tim Hardaway Jr., Cole Aldrich
Key to a Warriors Victory:
Avoid Giving J.R. Smith Open Looks
On Wednesday, Smith tied a franchise record with his nine three-pointers. We know he can shoot, it’s just a matter of doing so consistently, and when the Knicks shooting guard gets going, that’s when it goes bad for the opposition.
This month, Smith is shooting .419 on three-pointers, his best rate of any month this season and a significant step up from his .383 rate this year. As long as Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson are around, the Warriors can make life difficult for Smith on the perimeter, but doing so over the course of the entire game (when the starters come out) could be the difference in the game.
Keep New York Off the Boards
The Knicks average the fourth-fewest rebounds per game in the NBA, but when they grab a respectable amount of boards, they often make life difficult for the opposition.
The Dubs could have trouble in the paint today if their bench players don’t step up in starting roles. Generally, Jermaine O’Neal has played well when filling in for Bogut, the latter of whom will miss several days, per Adrian Wojnarowski. Expect a tough game inside, especially with Tyson Chandler going up against O’Neal.
6:00 PM PST, March 30, 2014
ORACLE Arena, Oakland CA
TV: CSN Bay Area
Radio: KNBR 680 AM