The New York Knicks (8-7) scored unexpected back-to-back road wins this week. Tonight they seek to sustain the victorious vibes against last year’s champs, the Golden State Warriors (6-9).
Despite performances like Stephen Curry’s 50-pointer (Wednesday, Phoenix), the Warriors are struggling this year. The word on the street is that their bench is the problem. The Dubs put up a lot of points (117.4, third in the NBA) and surrender a shade more (117.5, 27th). They’ve fallen to 25th in the league for rebounding, while the Knicks are third. Poor defense and effort seem like significant ailments, too.
The Warriors will be bombs away from downtown tonight, and justifiably so because they make a bunch. In this week’s 130-119 loss to the Suns, their 43% shooting from deep would have eclipsed most teams, but Phoenix shot 21-for-40 (53%!) beyond the arc. If the Knicks—who take the ninth-most threes in the league—get into a shootout with Stef and the Dubs—who take the most threes—this bout could be over early.
Prepare for some long-ball action. Tip-off’s at 10 p.m., gold diggers.
Stephen Curry (6’2”, 185 lb.) has averaged 32.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 6.4 assists, with a career-high 65% eFG. He’s taking 11.5 three-pointers per game and making 43% of them. Kind of remarkable for a 34-year-old player in his 14th professional year, with tons of postseason games behind him.
He’s no Steph, but Jalen Brunson, man.... His numbers speak for themselves:
Jalen Brunson's game log is metronomic pic.twitter.com/rh2ASW6uFc— ShwinnyPooh (@shwinnypooh) November 17, 2022
Klay Thompson (6’6”, 215 lb.) has averaged 15.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists this season while shooting 35% from the floor and 33% from deep (on 9.6 attempts). Since missing 2019-20 (knee) and most of 2020-21 (achilles), he has not returned to Splash Brother form. Teams target him now...this is the beginning of the end.
One guy making a splash recently is Mr. Cameron Reddish, who was key to New York’s recent victories against Utah and Denver. The 23-year-old with the 7’1” wingspan has averaged 18.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 34.3 minutes over his last three contests—while playing excellent defense. Who knew that an unleashed Cam would be such a glorious thing? I hope he’s kept receipts.
RJ Barrett has been fighting an illness and should have stayed at the hotel for the Denver game. He finished with 11 points on 22% shooting and went 0-for-9 from deep. And still, Thibs played him for 31 minutes. For the love of God.
Tonight, RJ will say hello to fellow Canadian, Andrew Wiggins (6’7”, 197 lb.). Wigs has averaged 18 points and 5.5 rebounds in his fourth year with the club. He’s had a nice stroke from deep, too, averaging 41% on 6.1 attempts.
Julius Randle ate the Nuggets’ frontcourt like a Denver omelet. (Always great to see you on another team, Deandre Jordan.) A rejuvenated Randle, who must prefer playing on the road, proved unstoppable against the Jokic-and-Gorden-less Nugs, concluding with 34 points and 11 rebounds.
Tonight, Julius will bump up against Draymond Green (6’6”, 230 lb.), best known for sucker punches, groin strikes, and lippiness. In his 11th season, Draymond has regressed in all major categories save for field goal percentage, which is a career-high 55%. Golden State may seek to trade the vet who still averages eight points, 6.7 assists, and 6.1 rebounds per game. He will earn $25.8 M this year and his next year is a player option. No, thanks.
Jericho Sims was a defensive beast at the end of Wednesday’s game and finished with a stat line of four points, six boards, two assists, three steals, two blocks, and 75 bounces in 19 minutes. Plus ZERO personal fouls. Zilch. None. While playing solid defense! Sims and Isaiah Hartenstein, your likely starter for tonight, have filled in admirably in the absence of injured Mitchell Robinson. It will be a crime against basketball if the Wall of Jericho is put back into mothballs once Mitch returns.
We know Jericho stoned Jamal Murray in crunch time.— Rit Holtzman (@BenRitholtzNBA) November 17, 2022
I wonder if this possession is what gave Thibs the confidence to sub him in. The aggression with which Sims switched onto Bones here (note the point at IQ) was jarring. Don’t mind the double though don’t think it was necessary. pic.twitter.com/EHFHrhXBY6
Starting at center for the Dubs tonight will be Kevon Looney (6’9”, 222 lb.), who is GSW’s leading rebounder with 6.9 per game. He has limited range and contributes only 6.5 points on offense. Ho + hum.
No kidding, there will be a foolish amount of three-point attempts taken tonight. If New York can avoid being lured into a long-range shoot-a-thon and bring the same energy they previously demonstrated this week, they can win. Their record versus the Warriors on the road is 62-89 all-time, but they have won three straight on the Dubs’ home court. Let’s make it four. The Knicks won on their last visit, 116-114. Count on a similar nailbiter tonight.
Chase Center. Friday. 10 p.m. Come out and play, Knicks!