The Knicks got experimental in the first half Sunday before everything went back to normal, and normal has not been good for them.
They ran the offense through Kristaps Porzingis in the second quarter with Carmelo Anthony mostly glued to the bench. The Knicks played aggressive defense and held Golden State to 20 points in the quarter. But they went away from Porzingis and stopped staying close to the Warriors, and that allowed Steph Curry to take over the game.
Curry came alive in the second half and finished with 31 points to lead the Warriors to a 112-105 win in a bizarre environment at the Garden.
The Knicks tried another experiment as the first half was played without any music, video or other in-game entertainment. So there was no Knicks City Dancers or organ to urge the fans to scream “De-Fense!” The Knicks wanted the fans to “experience the game in its purest form.” The message on the Jumbotron read, “Enjoy the sounds of the game.”
The silence bothered the players.“I didn’t like it,” Porzingis said. “It was weird. It was weird for me, but I guess that was how it was back in the day.’’
Said Anthony, “It was different. It was different, that’s all I’m going to say about it.”
Warriors forward Draymond Green called the no-music experiment “pathetic and trash” and said it threw his team off. Maybe the Knicks should have stuck with it. In the second half, they went back to the usual in-game entertainment, and the team went back to playing no defense.
The Knicks (25-38) held Golden State (51-11) to 49 points and led by one at halftime, but the Warriors put up 63 points and shot 23-for-41 in the second half. The Knicks fell a season-worst 13 games under .500 and are 5 1⁄2 games out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
“Most of the game, we were there,” Anthony said. “I thought we came out ready to play.”
Curry scored 15 of his points in the third quarter. After starting 5-for-15, he made six of his last nine shots. Klay Thompson scored 29 for the Warriors, who were without Kevin Durant because of a knee injury.
Derrick Rose had 28 points and Porzingis added 24 points and 15 rebounds for the Knicks. He had 11 points in the second quarter — two when he crossed over Green and got to the basket and two on a one-legged step-back fadeaway. He helped the Knicks turn an 11-point deficit into a three-point lead in the second quarter and made the eerily silent Garden loud.
Anthony (15 points) scored the Knicks’ first nine points in the third quarter after a scoreless and shotless second period. He wouldn’t question why Jeff Hornacek sat him the first 9:03 of the second quarter. “I told you I’m done asking why,” he said with a smile. “I think you all should ask . . . I don’t think you all should ask nobody that, just leave that one alone. Please, it’s over, it happened, just move on.”
Said Hornacek, “That second team was doing a nice job. I think we were down 10 or 11, so that second team got us back into the lead, so we just rolled with them.”
The Warriors came in riding their first two-game losing streak in nearly two years. They went an NBA-record 146 games before losing two in a row and haven’t lost three straight since November 2013.
Golden State pulled ahead 96-83 three minutes into the fourth quarter, but the Knicks closed to 97-96 when Porzingis hit a three-pointer with 5:56 left. After a three-point play by Rose brought the Knicks within 102-99, the Warriors scored on four of their next five possessions and took a 110-101 lead on Curry’s step-back jumper over Anthony with 1:09 left.
“We were right there,” Anthony said. “Once they got up seven, eight, we was just trying to fight at that time.”