Stephen Curry #30 of Golden State meets with Ray Allen...

Stephen Curry #30 of Golden State meets with Ray Allen after breaking his three point record during the first quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021 in New York City. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The shot went up and there seemed little doubt that it was going to be the one, the record-setting three-point field goal for Steph Curry to make him the NBA’s all-time leader in threes. And the fans crowded into Madison Square Garden, a decidedly loud and large contingent in place to chronicle their presence in history, cheering wildly and standing every time that Curry touched the ball.

When it went through the net, passing Ray Allen for the record, Golden State took a foul to stop play and coach Steve Kerr called a timeout, allowing time for the pageantry to honor the moment and the tears to flow. It was a solemn and emotional moment, not one marked with a comical "Bing Bong" sound bite, the majesty of the Garden on display for a moment.

But once the festivities were over the Knicks had to face the realities of their own predicament. The Garden was packed to capacity, but fans were here to witness history from Curry, not cheer for a free-falling Knicks squad. With COVID stripping them of three players from their roster the Knicks didn’t have enough to hold off Golden State, falling 105-96.

It was often Curry, who finished with 22 points, delivering the dagger, but there were an assortment of cuts delivered from nearly every player that Kerr ran out on the floor. And for the shorthanded Knicks there just wasn’t enough to match him. The loss was the Knicks’ fourth in a row and seventh in their last eight games, and dropped them to 12-16.

When he entered the game late in the third quarter with Golden State clinging to a three-point lead, Curry immediately hit a running bank shot. And then they did everything wrong on the next possession — Jonathan Kuminga passing up an open layup to kick out to the corner to Andre Iguodala, who hit the side of the backboard with a three-point attempt. But the ball kicked back to Iguodala, who fired it out to Curry. And predictably, Curry drained a 27-foot, three-point field goal for a 69-61 lead, part of a 13-1 run. Golden State took a seven-point lead into the fourth quarter.

The lead stretched to 12 in the fourth quarter and Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau was left to throw up his hands in frustration over and over as defensive lapses and ill-advised shots let the game slip away. Julius Randle had 31 points, 25 coming in the second half, but there was little help. Alec Burks, back after missing Sunday’s game for the birth of his son, was 4-for-15 shooting. Evan Fournier was 1-for-5, including 0-for-4 from beyond the arc.

"We’re down a couple of guys," Randle said. "Not playing great basketball right now. It’s tough but this is what we all signed up for. So we’ll see what happens. Not we’ll see what happens; we’re going to get it done. We’re going to figure it out. We just got to take it a game at a time and get our confidence and our juice going."

Despite the hype surrounding Curry’s chase of the record and the long pause in play for him to absorb the accolades from the crowd and for his father, longtime NBA standout Dell Curry, to come out of the stands for a hug and to take the record-setting ball from him, the Knicks managed to hang in, tied at 24-24 after the first quarter, and they took a 48-47 lead into halftime.

"It’s part of the NBA," Thibodeau said of the long stoppage in play. "I thought it was the right thing to do to acknowledge him. I had an opportunity to coach him at Team USA. He’s a classy guy. It’s the right thing to do."

It was an impressive showing as the Knicks did it shorthanded, missing three players to NBA health and safety protocols. They at times inserted little-used rookie Miles McBride, who got his most substantial minutes of the season with the added task of chasing Curry and the rest of the dangerous Golden State sharpshooters.

The Knicks were without RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin and Quentin Grimes, all in the NBA’s health and safety protocols.For a team that has been in free fall, Thibodeau is searching for some sort of continuity and stability. And unlike last season when the Knicks were able to dodge these sort of situations, right now it is a scramble every day to figure out who is available. Even Knicks legend and the team’s longtime color analyst on MSG Network, Walt Frazier, has been placed in health and safety protocols.

"We’ve got to continue," Thibodeau said. "We’ve got to work. Sometimes there’s going to be ebbs and flows and things. Sometimes they’re going great and sometimes they’re not. Usually the way you work your way out of that is with great effort.Cut hard, screen hard, defend hard, get to loose balls, get to layups. And all of a sudden, you get going. Things can change very quickly and we’ve got to make the change."