Stephen Curry quickly dribbled the ball up past mid-court, hesitating for a moment as he looked over the Madison Square Garden floor, deciding what to do next, in complete control of everything. Driving past Toure Murry, he stopped on a dime right past the foul line and lofted a floater so high it seemed to touch the rafters before dropping softly in. Swish. Golden State's next offensive possession, after a Curry steal, Stephen goes behind his back to evade Carmelo Anthony and dribbles into the front-court, David Lee running the lane and Klay Thompson running to the right wing three-point line. Curry finds Thompson with a crisp chest pass and Thompson buries a three.
Another Warriors steal on the very next possession features Curry moving up the left side of the floor with Andre Iguodala cutting to the basket. Curry threw a bullet no-look pass over his shoulder to Iguodala, who finished with a guady, athletic, reverse layup plus the foul. After New York answered that with a 'Melo tap-in, Curry slowly dribbled up the floor, executed a high pick-and-roll with David Lee, and bombed in a three-pointer from the top of the key.
From those four plays, the Warriors showcased how much of a mismatch this game was. From those four plays, Golden State went from just a ten point lead, comfortable but not insurmountable, to a dominating eighteen point advantage.
Golden State dominated from the outset and won by 23. Curry put up 27 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds (his third triple-double of the season) in just three quarters as he and Klay Thompson combined for 52 on 18-36 from the field and 10-21 from distance. The Warriors played free and loose, running up and down the court, and getting basically anything they wanted all night long. The Splash Brothers were on fire the entire game, getting inside for layups and more notably hitting threes from anywhere and everywhere no matter what New York tried.
The Warriors had perhaps their best offensive night since beating Miami in early January. 38 points in the first quarter, a season-high for a half at 73, and finishing with a season-high 126. Total evisceration in the paint; it seemed as though the Knicks would just part the lane like it was the Red Sea, as Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, and even Steve Blake got to the rim at will.
The bench was a strength for seemingly the first time of the season tonight, putting up 51 points on the sieve-like Knicks defense. Jermaine O'Neal had a great game again with fifteen points, six rebounds, and a block in twenty minutes of play. Draymond Green did his hustle thing as well, keeping balls alive for offensive rebounds and getting his hands in the passing lane for deflections and steals, with a plus-minus of +13 despite not showing up many times in the box score. He just does whatever it takes to win. Steve Blake had his best game since being acquired by Golden State with a solid all-around line; nine points, four assists, three rebounds, a steal, no turnovers in nineteen minutes, and a plus-minus of +7. Oh, and he had a dirty crossover on Pablo Prigioni, who was outmatched all night trying to guard Curry, Thompson, and the crafty Blake.
VIDEO | Steve Blake SICK Crossover & Fake Warriors vs Knicks NBA 2014: NBA Highlights --- See it First Right H... http://t.co/0RN6V9IGWj— The Sports News (@SportNgayon) March 1, 2014
Garbage time (all of the fourth quarter) got intriguing when Mareese Speights, who has now been demoted to the eleventh or twelfth man in the rotation - a good sign that Mark Jackson is starting to act accordingly based on recent performances, not reputation, and generally going with the team's best guys - was able to get under Tyson Chandler's skin. Speights and Chandler had to be separated after some pushing and shoving and exchanging of words little kids shouldn't hear, and both were assessed technical fouls for the incident. Speights then proceeded to hit consecutive jumpers, including an and-1 fall-away, right in Chandler's eye; Chandler started yapping at Speights and was promptly ejected.
(This game, and the ending especially, just epitomized how disheveled, disordered, confused, messed up, and in shambles this New York Knickerbockers team is. An embarrassment to the city, the franchise, and the fans, who started booing when the team showed little to zero effort during a blowout home loss on national TV in the midst of a completely lost season; an embarrassment to the NBA - Adam Silver was in attendance and you're going to put on THAT type of performance?)
Let's get back to the good stuff, though.
Key Stat: Warriors go for season-high 73 first-half points
The Warriors shot 55% in the first half and 47% from three as well. Golden State, as ESPN broadcaster and NBA lifer Hubie Brown commented, "put on a clinic." Stephen Curry got wherever he wanted, doing a masterful job of orchestrating the action; Thompson had a few nice drives, including a fancy lefty layup; Golden State made the extra pass when it was there - 16 assists in the first half, and the bench chipped in great minutes. It was just an excellent performance both offensively and defensively. The Warriors forced nine turnovers off deflections and six steals, out-rebounded the Knicks 26-22, and hounded New York into 40% shooting in the first half. Golden State ran off of everything, getting up the court speedily and scoring effortlessly in all facets of the game.
Warrior Wonder: Stephen Curry
Curry really showcased the whole floor game in the historic Madison Square Garden. Last time in MSG, he showed what he could do shooting the ball with 54 points on 11-13 from three; this night, he showcased how fearsome he is as a true point guard with a triple-double in merely three quarters. In doing so, Curry joined LeBron James as the only visiting players to record a triple-double and a fifty-point game at Madison Square Garden, per Elias Sports. Getting other guys involved and making the right pass, controlling the entire court, snagging rebounds, scoring seemingly at will, and doing it with a flair and style as well, Curry had it all going against the Knicks. Demonstrating the entire repertoire at MSG, with over-the-shoulder passes, no-look dimes, fancy dribbling exhibitions, and hitting threes from two feet behind the three-point line.
Up Next: Raptors
The Warriors are going for the season sweep of Toronto and looking to ensure at least a .500 road trip. Against Toronto on December 3rd, Golden State fell behind by 27 at home, showing a general lack of effort. Then, the storm came: Curry and Thompson led a 64-28 run to win the game by nine. Both teams looked much different back then: The Warriors were missing Iguodala, while the Raptors still had Rudy Gay. The Warriors have much more talent overall than the Raptors and should be able to win in Toronto; furthermore, the Warriors have the fourth-most road wins in the NBA, behind only perennial title contenders Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and Miami. Winning on the road is tough, especially against a team hungry for revenge after undergoing one of the largest collapses in NBA history, but if the Warriors come out strong like they did against New York, they should have no trouble getting a victory.