Lethargic Knicks beaten by Warriors
OAKLAND -- Before the game, Warriors coach Mark Jackson displayed his New York resolve by saying, "We are a no excuse basketball team." He was referring to the fact that his star guard Stephen Curry was out with an ankle injury. By the end of the night, though, the shoe was on the other foot. There was no excuse for the way the Knicks played.
No excuse for looking so lethargic against an understaffed team that might not have been as talented as the Knicks to start with. No excuse for allowing so many drives and allowing the Warriors to hit their stride. No excuse for allowing a 28-6 run that began in the final seconds of the third quarter an extended through much of the fourth.
No excuse for losing, 92-78, in their first road game of the season, following two days off -- a rare luxury in this condensed NBA season.
The Knicks went 2-for-2 in playing an opponent without a star backcourt player. On Sunday, it was the Paul Pierce-less Celtics and Wednesday night it was the Warriors without Curry. The latter is coming off ankle surgery and gamely played twice on it after tweaking it in the preseason. He re-tweaked it in a win over the Bulls Monday and was out Wednesday night.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson, facing his former team for the first time, said, "We are a no excuse basketball team."
At the same time, the Knicks are not in the business of overanalyzing what is or isn't happening with the opposition, especially a team that won't visit the Garden or host the Knicks again.
"We're in a phase where I'm not worried much about what other teams are doing," Mike D'Antoni said before the game. "We've just got to catch up on what we're doing and try to perfect that. We know what they'll do, the plays and stuff. But they're out west, this will be the only time we see them."
It wasn't what you'd call a one-of-a-kind first half. There was not much flow, or offense from two teams who like to push the ball. There were some moments: Landry Fields led everyone with 13 points, which was a positive sign for a player who seemed to lose his confidence after the Carmelo Anthony trade last season.
The Warriors got 10 points from Monta Ellis, including a layup following a steal and neat fast break feed from rookie point guard Charles Jenkins from Hofstra. Jenkins looked solid in the final 3:40 of the half as the Warriors needed someone to help make up for Curry's minutes.
After halftime, the Warriors did hit their stride, and that stride kept leading right to the basket. Brandon Rush was especially active and productive, scoring 12 points in the third quarter as the Warriors drew even. The Knicks kept settling for jump shots, and missing many of them.
Tyson Chandler committed his fourth and fifth fouls, leaving the Knicks basket defenseless against Golden State layups in the fourth quarter. With 7:22 left, the undermanned Warriors were up by 10. Later, when Dorell Wright and Monta Ellis hit successive three-pointers, it was an 84-70 lead for the team that had come into the game promising no excuses.