Knicks blow out Golden State by 38 points, win eighth in a row
Midway through the fourth quarter a strange thing happened at Madison Square Garden. Tom Thibodeau sat down.
It was just the latest oddity on display. What if you were told that the Knicks hosted Golden State Tuesday night and as expected, one team was putting on an offensive display where crossing half court seemed a safe range for three-pointers to fall and every effort to stop them opened another avenue for a new weapon to unleash? And what if you were watching as a stifling defense turned the game into a blowout?
Would you in your wildest imagination picture that it was the Knicks firing from all angles? Is there any chance you’d think that it was Golden State throwing in the towel and emptying the bench early in the fourth quarter?
Whatever the expectations were — and the explanations were easy to point to with Steph Curry and Andrew Wiggins sitting out — the Knicks never trailed in a 132-94 blowout, picking up their eighth consecutive victory and snapping Golden State’s stranglehold at Madison Square Garden, beating them at home for the first time since Feb. 27, 2013.
But good enough to get Thibodeau to sit down and calmly watch?
“That’s crazy,” Julius Randle said. “Obi [Toppin] told me, ‘I’ve never seen that in Thibs’ three seasons here. I’ve never seen him sit down.’ So that’s crazy. He was probably so uncomfortable. He didn’t know what to do.”
“Yeah, I’ve never seen that,” Jalen Brunson said. “Never seen that ever. First time for everything.”
Thibodeau brushed it off. “Nah, I don’t worry about that stuff. I just want us to play well.”
For the Knicks, currently holding the longest winning streak in the NBA, it was another night in which everything seemed to click and in the fourth quarter, only one starter — Quentin Grimes — saw the floor at all. Brunson got it started and left with 21 points. Grimes had 19 and RJ Barrett added 18. Randle had 15 points, 12 rebounds and five assists and Immanuel Quickley came off the bench and totaled 22 points.
From there, it became a showcase for the second — and third — teamers with Isaiah Hartenstein throwing length-of-the- floor outlet passes, Ryan Arcidiacano getting his first points of the season and the Knicks just trying to get to the finish line and ready for a game Wednesday night against Toronto.
“I still think we have things we can do where we can better, but they’re down a couple of players,” Brunson said. “So for us, no matter who is out there we’ve got to play with the same intensity. And I think we were able to do that.”
The Knicks entered the night not only with a seven-game winning streak, but six straight wins on the road, where they had a 10-6 record, second-best in the NBA. But at home the Knicks were just 7-7. And Golden State was a league-worst 3-14 on the road this season.
Perhaps more telling than any location numbers was that the Knicks have become a defensive power during the seven-game winning streak, while the defending champions have struggled to maintain their identity on that end of the floor.
“They’re defending really well,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said before the game. “And they’re getting stops. And it seems like they’re shooting better. Randle and Barrett are shooting the ball a lot better than the first time we saw them a month or so ago. So they’re in a good place on a good run.”
With 1:02 left in the first half, Grimes took a three from the left corner and missed, but landed on Ty Jerome’s foot and turned his right ankle. He remained in the game to shoot three free throws with the review ruling it was a flagrant foul. He then headed to the locker room.