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Preview: Warriors host Knicks and mark the halfway point of the season

Golden State hopes to prevent a record four game home losing streak as they host The Knicks.

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Golden State Warriors v New York Knicks

Last time out, the Golden State Warriors had a three-point shootout with the Sacramento Kings that broke the all-time record for most threes in a game. The New York Knicks are a bit of a different creature altogether, so don’t expect any more three point records to be broken — unless the Warriors do it all themselves. Regardless, this should be a fun one. It’s a light week for Golden State: just two games on the docket before they embark on a huge road trip so it’s a perfect time to try and get the house in order.

Game Details

WHO: Golden State Warriors (26-14) vs. New York Knicks (10-29)

WHEN: Tuesday, January 8; 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Oracle Arena — Oakland, CA

WATCH: NBCSBA, NBA TV

WRADIO: 95.7 The Game,

Taking stock at the halfway mark

The Warriors currently sit at 26-14, which Marcus Thompson of The Athletic projects out to a pace resulting in about 54 wins; a far cry from their record-setting 73-win season, but not actually all that much different from last season’s 58-24 record.

While it is important to note all the injuries the team has endured this season — including playing without a “real” Center right now — it’s hard not to at least be a little suspicious about this year’s iteration. While most of the public has been griping about the offensive rotations and scheme, it’s really the Warriors 18th ranked defense that is more problematic.

Last year, Golden State switched the heck out of the proverbial switch and turned their 11th ranked defense into the stingiest of the Playoffs — shaving about 5 points per 100 possessions off of their regular season average. As Sleepy Freud noted in another thread, they did this against some of the best offenses in the league. That’s no small accomplishment. If us Blog Boys are talking about it, you can assume that the turnabout shown on their way to an eventual sweep in Finals is playing in the back of the Warriors’ heads too.

Still, if Draymond Green is talking about 16-game players versus 82-game players, I sure wouldn’t mind a little bit of both.

There is some precedent here. This team definitely has the talent, and the historic evidence pointing towards eventual victory, but it doesn’t make the regular season any easier to watch. Traditionally, players and teams use the All-star break as a sort of “ok, let’s focus up now” marker — but I know I’m not alone in getting a little anxious here and hoping they step up their game soon.

So anyways, yay halftime!

Ooooooh-weeee! The New York Knicks are NOT good!

Generally, when I check the stats for teams in order to write these previews, I find something concerning like “oh, we got to watch out for the Kings speed; and they sure do shoot the three ball a lot!” But with the Knicks? I got nothin’. They boast the 24th ranked offense and the 29th ranked defense resulting in the 5th worst point differential in the entire NBA (all stats from NBA.com). This is a team that is just flat out bad right now.

The Knicks excel in offensive rebounding, and don’t turn the ball over much; but the Warriors would have to play disastrously bad to lose this game — which would be their fourth consecutive home loss. That would break a team record. Actually, you know what? This season, the Warriors could very much lose this game somehow. It would be in character with how this season has gone.

Matchup to watch

As far as the Knicks go, they do have some intriguing young talent and should be immensely better once Kristaps Porzingas returns from his knee surgery. His absence may actually work out in the long term as it has given the Knicks a chance to develop a bit while still positioning for a strong draft pick to help out next year.

This is a roster built for a rebuild!

Knicks rookie Kevin Knox just won the Rookie of the month award in December, so let’s go with him. BennyBuckets, of our Blog Buddy site, Posting and Toasting wrote it all up pretty well:

Knox scored 20 or more points six different times in December, including on Christmas Day when he put up 21 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in a loss to the superior Milwaukee Bucks. When Knox had 26 points and 15 rebounds on December 9th against the Charlotte Hornets, he became just the second teenager in NBA history to post at least 25 points and 15 rebounds in a game, with the only other being LeBron James.

This is a kid who can score.

The Warriors defense is softer than a peeled grape right now, so it’s possible that Knox can get loose on Durant. Whether he’ll be able to hang with the Warriors’ Superstar on both ends of the court is very much in question, but as we’ve seen this year, the regular season Warriors don’t have quite the same “punch” as in previous years.

Prediction

There is absolutely no way the three-time, defending Championship team Warriors lose this game at home. We have two of the top three players in the game and possibly the best roster ever assembled. A fourth straight loss at Oracle setting a record-worst during Kerr’s tenure in the team’s last season in Oakland?

No way!

Warriors 109 - Knicks 110

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