Knicks know they had better be ready for Warriors on Friday
GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Talk about having no time to catch your breath.
Less than 24 hours after suffering a blowout loss in Miami, the Knicks were on their practice court preparing to play one of the most talent-laden teams in the history of the NBA.
Yes, the Knicks will host the Golden State Warriors on Friday night at Madison Square Garden, a fact that was hard to miss if you were walking near the arena Thursday. On a nearby building was a billboard featuring an image of Golden State’s Kevin Durant (a free agent next summer) in a Knicks uniform along with injured Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis. Over the image was written the question “Can you make NY sports great again?”
Knicks coach David Fizdale hadn’t seen the billboard and at this point has more immediate concerns, such as how to get his team to bounce back from its worst loss of the season.
The Knicks have dropped four straight games since winning their season opener against Atlanta, but Wednesday’s 110-87 loss to the Heat was the only one that got away from them.
Fizdale sees something good in having to play a team the caliber of Golden State right after a bad loss. “I think it’s great,” he said. “You have to get up the next day after getting punched and really getting smacked . . . We have to wake up to a 30-point loss and Golden State. But hey, this is the league. I like the opportunity myself. For our young guys to go up against the champs in the Garden, that’s a great opportunity for us. They can play free and no one expects us to do anything against them. Except for me. I think it’s a great opportunity.”
The two-time defending champions are 4-1. While the Knicks were getting blown out by the Heat on Wednesday, two-time MVP Stephen Curry was scoring 51 points, including 11 three-pointers, in a 144-122 win over the Wizards. The Warriors are the first team in 40 years capable of starting five players — Curry, Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins (currently out with an injury) — who were All-Stars the previous season.
“It’s going to be difficult,” Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. said. “They’re defending champs. I hope everybody got their mind and body ready, because it’s going to be a long night if you don’t take care of it like we didn’t do [at Miami]. Just got to go out there tomorrow in practice, lock in tremendously or we’re going to get embarrassed.”
Notes & quotes: Emmanuel Mudiay (ankle) practiced Thursday and Fizdale said he looked “pretty good.” Depending on how he feels Friday, he could be available against the Warriors . . . Courtney Lee (neck) remains out.