Knicks vs. Warriors: Score, Highlights, Reaction from 2016 Regular Season
The Golden State Warriors are so dominant on the basketball floor, they can play games within the actual game and keep the crowd entertained during a blowout win.
Golden State handled the shorthanded New York Knicks with ease on Thursday at Oracle Arena, 103-90, in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. While the 13-point victory is notable as is, the Warriors assisted on 41 of 45 made field goals and appeared to be seeking the extra pass every time down the floorto keep the assist total high after the game was well in hand.
Ian Clark ended the streak late in the third quarter with a driving layup after the Warriors assisted on their first 36 field goals.
The Warriors are turning back the clock. pic.twitter.com/gDsTicwQh9
Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 16, 2016
Golden State moved to 23-4 on the season, going 7-1 in its last eight games. The Knicks fell to 14-12 and didn’t have much of a chance against the defending Western Conference champions consideringJonah Ballow of the Knicks’ official website said Carmelo Anthony was out with a sore right shoulder and Derrick Rose was out withback spasms.
Stefan Bondy of theNew York Daily Newsnoted losing without Anthony was nothing new for the Knicks:
Knicks about to drop to 7-46 in the Phil Jackson era when Carmelo doesn’t play.
Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) December 16, 2016
New York didn’t have the firepower to keep up with Golden State. Klay Thompson led the way with 25 points, while JaVale McGee added 17 points as a starter. Kevin Durant notched a double-double with 15 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists, and Stephen Curry made up for his lackluster shooting (3-of-14 from the field for eight points) with 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Draymond Green also shot poorly from the field (2-of-12) but impacted the game with 11 rebounds and seven assists.
As for the Knicks, they shot just 23.8 percent from three-point range and 47.4 percent from the free-throw line without two of their primary scorers. Justin Holiday led New York with 15 points off the bench, and Ron Baker (13 points) and Brandon Jennings (10 points) also finished in double figures.
Kristaps Porzingis struggled against Green’s defense and scored just eight points on 4-of-13 shooting from the field.
There was a moving moment before the game when Warriors coach Steve Kerr gathered players from both teams and asked the crowd to join him in applause inremembrance of broadcaster Craig Sager. Sager died Thursdayat age 65of acute myeloid leukemia, per Jill Martin of CNN.
Golden State controlled the first quarter and built a 32-25 lead behind a blistering 52 percent shooting from the field. It was a team effort in the opening 12 minutes, as the Warriors tallied 14 assists on 14 made field goals in a display of offensive dominance.
The Warriors extended their lead to double digits in the second quarter, but Baker scored five straight Knicks points and cut the deficit to 42-35.
Raphielle Johnson of Heavy.com reacted to the guard’s 3-of-3 start from the field:
Let Ron Baker cook. Plenty of chances tonight; taking advantage so far.
Raphielle Johnson (@raphiellej) December 16, 2016
Curry answered with his first points of the game with a shot from beyond the arc, and the Warriors closed the half with a 17-8 run after allowing the Knicks to pull within five. Thompson led the way with 14 points, but 11 Warriors scored in the first half to build the 59-45 lead.
Incredibly, Golden State assisted on all 26 of its first-half field goals, and ESPN said it was the most baskets without an unassisted one in 20 years.
However, Anthony Slater of theSan Jose Mercury Newspointed out the Warriors received some benefit of the doubt in the score book:
Some verrrrrrrrry generous scorekeeping there. Green got credited with assist on that Klay drive. Warriors now 26 of 26 on assists to FGs.
Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 16, 2016
Golden State extended the assist streak in the third quarter, althoughbasketball entertainment news in 2016 writer Haralabos Voulgarissaid,”They are passing up so many dribble drives or open shots because they won’t result in an assist. The goal is to get baskets not assists.”
Even with the Warriors passing up some easier looks, they were keeping the Knicks at bay and had an answer for every brief spurt of momentum from the visitors. New York was still within striking distance at 66-56, but Golden State put the game away with an overwhelming 17-2 run to extend the advantage to 83-58.
Thompson highlighted the burst withtwo threes, and the team continued to look for the extra pass to keep the assist streak alive.
Kristian Winfield of SB Nation described the Warriors’ unstoppable play:
The Warriors are doing the assist equivalent of running the score up while actually running the score up.
Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) December 16, 2016
The only remaining drama was how long Golden State could go with the assist streak in play, and Clark made his unassisted layup with just over a minute left in the third quarter.
The Warriors were in full control and took an 88-66 lead into the fourth even though Curry and Durant were a combined 8-of-28 from the field. It didn’t matter, as Thompson (23 points) and McGee (17 points) carried much of the scoring load in the first three quarters.
Golden State put things in relative cruise control in the final quarter, although it announced David West suffered a hip contusion and was ruled out for the remainder of the game, via Slater.
The Warriors also notched their 40th assist of the contest whenShaun Livingston found Kevon Looney for a dunk. They joined some impressive company in the process, per Warriors PR:
Warriors have their third 40-assist game this season, the first team with three 40-assist games in a season since the Bulls in 1996-97.
Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) December 16, 2016
While Golden State was busy matching joining Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in recent NBA history, the Knicks did cut into the lead with a solid fourth quarter. It was far too little, too late, but a Baker basket in transition trimmed the deficit to 12 at 98-86.
The Knicks outscored the Warriors in the final quarter, 24-15, but the assist-fest of the first three quarters was too much to overcome.
Porzingis commented on the poor performance, per the Knicks: “Games like this, I have to watch film and be ready.”
Kerr did find things to nitpick after the game, via Slater:
Despite easy win, Steve Kerr not too pleased with Warriors “lack of purpose” tonight pic.twitter.com/9q8LDZzkHL
Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 16, 2016
Curry joked that Clark was the “biggest ball hog on the team” for breaking the assist streak, per Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group.
Kerr discussed Sager after the win, per Janie McCauley of the Associated Press: “Craig’s death and the news today far outweighs anything that happens in the gym.”
Durant also reflected on Sager, per Slater:
KD on Craig Sager: “A great man” pic.twitter.com/t95ZGDXYTm
Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 16, 2016 What’s Next?
The Warriors face the Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz in their next two games. They are the class of the Western Conference and will look to seize an opportunity to create even more separation between themselves and two playoff contenders in the league.
The Knicks play the struggling Denver Nuggets in their next game and have a chance to get back into the win column after facing the defending Western Conference champions.