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Warriors looked tired in ugly win over the Knicks

JaVale McGee shined as the Warriors looked sluggish in their first game home in over a week.

New York Knicks v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

OAKLAND, Calif. — Thursday night’s contest against the New York Knicks marked the eighth game in 12 days for the Golden State Warriors.

And if that doesn’t sound exhausting enough, mix in the fact that Oakland was the seventh city that Golden State played in during that stretch.

“There is no question the schedule caught up to us,” a visibly peeved Steve Kerr said after the Warriors’ 103-90 victory over the Knicks. “But it’s the schedule and you have to play through it.”

The Warriors were far from crisp. They looked tired and heavy-legged against a Knicks squad that rested two of their top three scorers in Carmelo Anthony and former MVP Derrick Rose.

Golden State’s staleness was evident from the tip as players clanked their first five shots of the game, missing both jumpers and layups alike. Kevin Durant noted that the team definitely felt a little sluggish to start.

But even a sluggish quarter by the Warriors still resulted in 32 points through the first twelve minutes of action.

The one area in which the Warriors were judicious was ball movement, which stretched out the Knicks’ defense with crisp passes around the perimeter.

The Warriors assisted on each of their first 36 made field goals to start the game. Nobody benefited more from the Dubs’ generosity than JaVale McGee, who made his second straight start in place of injured Zaza Pachulia.

“He gave us a huge boost in that starting lineup and put a lot of pressure on their defense in the paint,” Stephen Curry said, of McGee’s 17-point performance — the most by McGee since 2012 when he was a member of the Denver Nuggets.

“We can penetrate and set him up; he’s always going to be there,” Curry continued. “Sometimes we get a little overzealous trying to look for him, but tonight it was pretty seamless finding him at the rim.”

With the shooting that the Warriors possess, McGee adds an additional layer of pressure on the defense. Opposing teams must honor his threat at the rim, thus, creating more spacing for cutters and penetration off the dribble.

And nobody benefited from McGee’s presence on the court more than Klay Thompson, who scored a game-high 25 points and connected on four lobs with the athletic big man.

“He has a different dimension when he’s on the floor because the floor is so wide open with our starting unit out there,” said Thompson of McGee after the game. “When we get in the paint, it’s always an option to throw it up.”

Game Notes

Via Warriors PR

  • With 41 assists on the night, the Warriors recorded their third game of the season with at least 40 assists. They are the first team since the 1996-97 Chicago Bulls to record at least three 40-assist games in a single season (and it’s only the 26th game of the season!).
  • The Warriors assisted on 91.1 percent of their field goals (41 assists on 45 field goals), their highest assist percentage since connecting on 94.4 percent (34 assists on 36 field goals) of their field goals via assist on Dec. 12, 1995 vs. Miami.
  • Golden State recorded 10 blocks, the league-leading sixth double-digit block game this season.
  • Stephen Curry snatched a season-high 10 rebounds to go with eight points and eight assists.
  • Kevin Durant notched his 10th double-double of the season with 15 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists.
  • David West left the game with a right hip contusion and is set to have an MRI on Friday.
  • Zaza Pachulia missed his fourth-straight game with a right wrist contusion and is day-to-day according to Steve Kerr.

Andrew Flohr is the credentialed writer for GSoM. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

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