Steph Curry saved the Warriors from a loss against Memphis on Friday, but he couldn’t make magic happen twice, as Golden State fell to the Knicks Sunday night, 94-89. Despite the Warrior’s great record since the All-Star Break, this loss will be considered a huge setback in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.
New York (31-43) is fighting for 8th seed in the East, and coming into Oakland Sunday were looking to give Golden State (45-28) the best that they had. The Warriors were shorthanded once again, with both David Lee and Andrew Bogut out with nagging injuries. It proved to be ultimately fatal, as the Warriors struggled to rebound and score inside effectively all game.
It started off well enough, with the Warriors building a 10 point lead after the first quarter, and sending Carmelo Anthony back to the bench early in the 2nd quarter with his 3rd foul.
That’s when the wheels came off, with the Warrior’s bench unit yielding as they’ve been known to do in the past. The worst was yet to come however, as with 2:30 seconds left in the 2nd quarter, the Knicks went on a 15-0 run to end the half.
After that, it was an uphill battle the rest of the way through, and the Warriors seemed up to the test. They played stellar defense for the remainder of the game, and put themselves in a position to take the lead. With about three minutes left in the 4th quarter, Curry ran through a slew of screen to find himself open in the corner, nailing the shot to tie the game at 81 apiece.
That was as close as they would get though, as Anthony was able to draw fouls and take the lead from the free throw line. The Warriors would have a shot to tie the game with five seconds remaining, stingy defense on Curry on the inbound pass would lead to a Warrior turnover and Knick win.
“That 2nd quarter cost us the game,” said Coach Jackson after the game. “We missed shots. We missed some free throws. We missed some wide open shots…this game should have been won early.”
While it is true that the Warriors, particularly Thompson, were missing wide open 3’s that they would usually make. But the uneven play of Harrison Barnes, and recently Steve Blake, continue to be ongoing concerns, something that will need to change as the Warriors attempt to overtake Portland for the 5th seed down the stretch.