In their first game back from the long road trip, the Golden State Warriors handed the New York Knicks a 103-90 loss tonight.
It was a somber night at Oracle Arena as the Warriors and Knicks organizations, fans and TNT broadcasters paid their respects to one of the most universally beloved individuals in the NBA, Craig Sager, who passed away today. Staff, players and fans alike showed their love with Sager Strong attire and before the game Steve Kerr delivered a moving speech honoring Sager’s passion for life and the game.
On the court, it was a bit of an odd game. One would not necessarily expect to see JaVale McGee, getting the start for the injured Zaza Pachulia, briefly leading the 2016-2017 Warriors in points in the third quarter, yet it happened. One would not normally expect the Warriors to go nearly three quarters without an unassisted field goal, yet that happened as well.
Three players, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry, were on pace for triple doubles by halftime, though none managed to get there in the end. The box score reads as a sea of rebounds and assists, with quiet scoring from all of the stars aside from Klay Thompson’s stealthy 25 points.
There were only four Warrior free throws. As a team they missed 23 3-point shots. Two things we see this team get a good chunk of their points on and they just weren’t there tonight.
What they did have, however, were assists. They finished the game with 41 assists on 45 made field goals. This was the Warriors’ third game with more than 40 assists this season. The last team to do that was the 1996-1997 Chicago Bulls and it’s only the middle of December.
The first quarter started slow for both teams. They couldn’t buy a basket in the first two minutes before Durant put up a jump shot to get them on the board. A couple of splashes from Thompson and Green got them the lead before McGee exploded at the rim, with his teammates setting him up for four dunks in a row. Short runs helped the Warriors take a nine point lead to head to the second quarter.
The Knicks did their best to keep pace with the Warriors, who kept them at roughly a 10 point deficit for the duration before ending the half up 59-45. However, the story was the assists. At the half, the Warriors had 26 assists on 26 made field goals. While a few of those assists seemed questionable on the part of the official scorer, it was impressive none the less. Especially this absolute blind faith pass from Patrick McCaw to Shaun Livingston:
The third quarter is where the Warriors really broke open the game. It started much the same as the first quarter with McGee going for back-to-back dunks on his way to 17 points in less than 16 minutes of playing time and a standing ovation from Oracle Arena as he left the court.
His teammates helped out, going on a late 14-0 run, still with no unassisted field goals, before Ian Clark scored solo with a little over a minute left in the quarter.
The fourth quarter was complacent. The Warriors lost motivation and were outscored halfway through the quarter 20-10. However the Knicks were never able to get within striking distance and the Warriors walked away with a respectable 103-90 win.
- Curry stole a jump ball from Joakim Noah and it was a thing of beauty.
Steph Curry adds "embarrassing Joakim Noah" to his list of accomplishments pic.twitter.com/ghPs0YmIri— SB Nation GIF (@SBNationGIF) December 16, 2016
- David West left the game with a right hip contusion, which is worrisome with the injury to Pachulia. He will get an MRI tomorrow.
- At the half, Thompson, Green and Durant were presented with their Olympic championship rings:
The Warriors next face the Portland Trailblazers at home on Saturday night at 7:30pm PST.