1) The crowd at the Garden was hyped from jump, but the Warriors’ play on the court couldn’t match that enthusiasm. The Dubs easily had their worst first quarter of the season in a stretch that saw 8 ghastly turnovers and ended with a season-low 18 points. Fortunately for Golden State, Klay Thompson was on fire all night. Klay finished with a game-high 34 points on 14-of-18 shooting, including 5-of-6 from deep to pull the Warriors out of the early funk and lead the team to an easy win.
2) Klay is on an otherworldly scoring streak right now. He has 111 points over the last three games on 57% shooting from threes.
3) Conversely, Stephen Curry looked out of sync all night. He finished with 3 turnovers and 5-of-17 shooting for a season-low 13 points (not counting the Denver game where he played only 14 minutes). He’s averaging only 17 points over his last three games, but that’s why having another Splash Brother helps. Klay can do the heavy lifting while Curry figures out this mini slump.
4) I haven’t been this excited to watch a big man rookie since Yao Ming. And like Yao, Kristaps Porzingis isn’t just a big loaf on the court, he can actually do basketball things. He can shoot, rebound, block sucker attempts in the lane, and he made an over the back pass to a cutter that I didn’t know he had in him. It’s going to amazing watching him stretch the floor at the center position in a couple of years after his body fills out.
5) After shooting only two free throws against Philadelphia, the Warriors regressed back towards the mean with 23 attempts. For the season the Dubs shoot 22.7 freebies a game, good for middle of the pack in the NBA. However, they’re in the bottom-11 in percentage, something worth keeping an eye on when the playoffs (and hard fouls) come around.
6) Carmelo Anthony has found a new way to guard Steph (by putting his hand on his head). Didn’t work. Steph hit the jumper anyway.
7) Remember when the 2014 draft class was trumpeted as one of the best ever? It’s early, but are we sure those superlatives weren’t meant for this year’s crop of rookies? This season’s first-years includes Porzingis’ all-around brilliance; Towns doing modern-day big man stuff; Okafor, Russell, and Mudiay showing flashes; Winslow hounding guys on defense; Booker shooting like a young Klay; Stein, Johnson and Lyles coming on; and my two favorites, Miles Turner and Larry Nance Jr. outplaying their draft selection. This is without even mentioning Kevon Looney, who all Warriors fans know will be knocking on All-Star status soon. (By the way, poor MJ passed up Boston’s treasure chest of draft picks to take Frank Kaminsky, who doesn’t play D and is shooting 39%. Yikes!)
8) Shaun Livingston hit his second three-pointer of the season. Before the season started there was talk that Livingston might unleash more threes this year. That hasn’t happened yet, but I think he’ll become a respectable shooter from deep as he ages, mostly because guards in their 30s who can’t shoot find themselves without a job real quick.
9) Carmelo Anthony: 21.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 43% FG, 34% threes. Danilo Gallinari: 19.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 41% FG, 37% threes. In a vacuum, Carmelo is obviously a much better basketball player than Gallo. But given that the Red Rooster will make $34 million less than Anthony over this year and the next two, and that he’s 4 years younger (putting him closer to Porzingis’ age curve), I wonder whether Phil Jackson would ask for a take-back if he could on that Melo-for-Gallo trade. An extra $11 million a year would leave plenty of space for two players in the $20 million-per-year range. Imagine a lineup of Gallo, Porzingis and two max guys. That’s not a bad foundation going forward.
10) Because the cosmos finds a way to right all wrongs, Draymond Green picked up his league-leading ninth triple-double, one night after he failed to do so by playing “selfishly unselfish.”