The Knicks went down 112-121 at home against Boston on Saturday, making it nine losses in their past ten games. New recruit Trey Burke came off the bench to score 26 points, but New York struggled to contain the Celtics at the defensive end of the floor. The loss sent their record to 24-37, which lodges them comfortably in 11th place in the east. Charlotte are three games ahead in tenth while Chicago are four games behind in 12th, meaning New York may well remain where they are for the rest of the season.
Golden State (46-14) have a little more to lose. They are trying to hunt down the Rockets for top spot in the west, though Houston are doing them very few favors. On Saturday, the Warriors finally managed to defeat the Thunder, downing them 112-80 behind a 60-35 second half. Kevin Durant scored 28 points in the win while Steph Curry added 21.
Three keys to the game
3-point shooting - As is relatively well known by now, the Warriors aren’t a bad shooting team. They lead the league in 3-point percentage, connecting on 39.6% of their 29.9 attempts per game. In contrast, the Knicks put up just 22.2 long range attempts a game, the least in the league, and connect on 35.1% of them, worse than all but five other teams.
Where are the Knicks’ game winners? - They have just one of them, and unfortunately KriPorzingis is recovering from an ACL injury. His absence means four of Golden State’s five starters will be significantly better than every player available to the Knicks. Sufficed to say, that doesn’t bode well for New York.
Has the Warriors offense gotten even better? - The Warriors lead the league in offensive rating this season, scoring 114 points per 100 possessions. Not bad, but they have taken things to another level still in recent games. In their past six outings, they are scoring 122.2 points per 100 possessions, an extraordinary number.
Matchup to watch
Tim Hardaway Jr vs Kevin Durant - Two of these respective teams’ best scorers, though that is a much greater compliment to Durant than it is to Hardaway. Hardaway suffered an extraordinary shooting slump prior to the All-Star break, but he appears to have returned to relative normality, and is at his best capable of serious scoring. Just three games ago, he scored 31 points in the first half on 12-for-14 shooting against the Wizards, ending up with 37 points for the game. Durant, though, is a whole different story. He averages 26 points a game for the season, and on the very same day that Hardaway was destroying Washington went 17-for-27 from the field on the way to 50 points against Portland.
New York Knicks predicted starting lineup
PG - Emmanuel Mudiay | SG - Courtney Lee | SF - Tim Hardaway Jr | PF - Michael Beasley | C - Enes Kanter
Golden State Warriors predicted starting lineup
PG - Steph Curry | SG - Klay Thompson | SF - Kevin Durant | PF - Draymond Green | C - Zaza Pachulia
Curry dropped in eight 3-pointers the last time these two sides met. In total, he scored 32 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out seven assists in a great all-round performance which led to an 11-point Golden State win. In the same game, Durant struggled from the field, going just 4-for-10, but dished out a career-high 14 assists.
The over/under points total has been set at 230 points, which is too high. Though Golden State are scoring at an unprecedented rate, they will be able to take their foot off the pedal relatively early in this one, and should be able to keep the Knicks to a low enough score to keep the game total under.
Put this one in the bank for the Warriors. After demolishing the Thunder by 32 points, the Knicks won’t be a problem for them, and the likes of Durant and Curry will be able to spend much of the fourth quarter resting their legs. New York may be able to stick with them for much of the first half, but as is customary with the Warriors, they will put their foot down in the third quarter and blow the Knicks well and truly out of the water. Golden State will run out comfortable victors on the road with a 121-105 victory.
The game will be broadcast locally on MSG Go and NBC Bay Sports Area. Tip-off is at 7:30pm ET.