Stephen Curry leads the Warriors on Second Half Surge to Victory, Beat Knicks 112-94
After a disappointing loss to the Houston Rockets on Saturday, the Golden State Warriors (37-10) returned to the Bay Area to face the New York Knicks (21-26). The Warriors would be looking to build off of a strong road trip and extend their lead in the Western Conference. They would benefit from the return of Andre Iguodala, who missed the last two games with injury. They would also benefit from the Knicks resting several players, including superstar Kristaps Porzingis. The Splash Brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, were looking to put up strong performances after disappointing in Houston. The Warriors would go on to beat the Knicks 112-94.
The Knicks came out in the first quarter and just outplayed the Warriors in nearly every facet of their game. Courtney Lee came out especially hot, and made Klay Thompson look bad on defense. Klay looked lost while trying to keep up with Lee, and he finished the first quarter with eight points on 4-4 shooting. Jarrett Jack was close behind him with seven points. Overall, the Knicks shot the ball exceptionally well at 54.5% overall, but they didn’t do as well shooting the three at 33.3%. While 33.3% might look bad, the Warriors managed to make it look otherworldly, as they came out and went 1-11 from beyond the arc, which is 9.1%. The Warriors’ leading scorers in the opening quarter were Kevin Durant and Zaza Pachulia, who both had six points. The Warriors did a good job from inside the arc though, going 8-11, but that’s about the only good thing they were doing. They played some atrocious defense en route to finding themselves down after the first quarter, 31-21.
In the second quarter, the Knicks were able to keep rolling, thanks to the Warriors inability to make the three ball. The Warriors were shooting a combined 29.4% on threes, so I guess that’s better than the 9.1% in the first quarter. Kevin Durant began to heat up for the Warriors though, and finished the half with 14 points on 4-5 shooting, and had a team-high seven assists. Stephen Curry was the next highest scorer thanks to a six-point burst at the end of the half, he finished with nine points on 3-10 shooting. David West was close behind Curry with eight points of his own on 4-4 shooting. His midrange jumper continued to be absolutely automatic. The Warriors did a good job of avoiding their normal poison, turnovers. They only committed six turnovers in the half, while dishing out 21 assists. The Knicks were still shooting the ball very well in the second quarter, and finished the half shooting 52.4%. Courtney Lee continued to torch the Warriors, and finished the half with 13 points. Michael Beasley also had 13 points to help lead the team on offense. This was a rare first half for the Warriors because they did not have a lead for a single second. They were able to cut the Knicks’ lead to just two points at halftime, as the Knicks led 60-58.
The Warriors came out of halftime and came out with a vengeance in the third quarter. Stephen Curry led the charge after a sup-par first half, and he finished the third quarter with 26 points. He got hot from three and it electrified the team and the crowd. The next highest scorer was Kevin Durant with just 14 points. The Warriors were playing solid defense throughout the quarter with the occasional highlight play scattered throughout. One play that was especially good came when Kevin Durant blocked a shot so hard that it ricocheted all the way to Klay Thompson at half court as he led a break. It was basically a pass and I thought it was cool. The Warriors finished the third quarter shooting a combined 55.6% overall and 39.1% from three, so it was safe to say that they found their groove. The Knicks were hanging around though, as they were still shooting 51.6%. Michael Beasley and Courtney Lee continued to lead the way for the Knicks with a combined 36 points. Heading to the final quarter, the Warriors led 95-86.
The fourth quarter was basically garbage time for its entirety, which was refreshing after that Houston game. Steph was able to stay hot and finished the game with 32 points, so he hit two threes in the quarter. Draymond Green hit a three to round out his very solid all-around game. Kevin Durant ended up getting ejected after picking up his second technical foul for arguing with the refs. The Warriors finished the game shooting 55.4% overall and 43.3% from three. The Knicks did not have a good quarter, hence it being garbage time for the whole time, but Joakim Noah got some playing time which was interesting because I forgot he was still in the NBA. The Knicks finished the game shooting 51.8% overall and 40.9% from beyond the arc. They played a very solid game, but came up short due to the way the Warriors like to play in the second half. Their leading scorer was Michael Beasley, who finished with 21 points. The Warriors beat the Knicks 112-94.
Five Warriors players finished the game in double digit scoring, four of them were starters and the other was David West. Stephen Curry found his stroke in the second half after a pretty bad first half and finished with 32 points, six rebounds, and seven assists. Kevin Durant was the next leading scorer with 14 points, but he also dished out a career-high 14 assists to go with his four rebounds, two steals, and two blocks. Zaza Pachulia also had an incredible offensive game, finishing with 13 points. Two of those points came on an incredible post move where he scored over two Knicks defenders. The bench played a big role in the Warriors’ success in this game. In the first half, they had over 20 points, and they finished the game with 43 points. One player who I thought was particularly solid was Kevon Looney, who finished with eight points and has been great off the bench this year for the Warriors.
There wasn’t much to take away from this game. The Warriors started off slow, but they have a tendency to do that nowadays. They beat the Knicks, as they should have, especially because they were without Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle O’Quinn. Klay Thompson never really got it going, but that’s not a huge concern for me right now as we’re about to head to the All-Star break where he will get some time off and be able to get some rest as he has played in more games than any other Warrior this year.
The Warriors play their next game on Thursday, January 25, at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves at 7:30 p.m.