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Analysis: Chriss, Russell aren’t enough as Warriors lose 124-122 to New York Knicks

Missed opportunities and mistakes haunt the Warriors as they fall short in this matchup of teams with the two worst records in the NBA this season.

New York Knicks v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

After losing to the Memphis Grizzlies at home on Monday night, the Golden State Warriors had another good opportunity to pick up their sixth win of the season when the New York Knicks came to town. But the Knicks raced out to a massive lead in the second quarter and were poised to hand the Warriors perhaps their worst defeat of this 2019-20 NBA season. But the Warriors fought back in the second half, erasing that large Knicks advantage and pushing the game into overtime. In the extra frame, the Warriors luck ran out and their shots didn’t fall as the Knicks held on to pick up the 124-122 win.

Chriss provides Warriors with second-half spark

After trailing by 22 points at one time in the first half and 18 points at halftime, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr elected to make a change. Kerr decided to play Marquese Chriss alongside the other four starters to start the second half rather than Willie Cauley-Stein, who was the starting center. Chriss provided the Warriors with a spark in the third, helping the Warriors to a 30-19 quarter as they cut into that Knicks lead and eventually pushed the game into overtime.

Chriss scored 12 points against the Knicks while grabbing 10 rebounds (this included a career-high 6 offensive rebounds as well). Chriss also had a defensive highlight as he blocked a RJ Barrett dunk attempt and then stared the rookie down after.

Cauley-Stein has had a lock on the starting center spot since he’s joined the team but Chriss’ performance against the Knicks might give Kerr something to think about with his next starting lineup.

Warriors’ offensive struggles continue

Some of the offensive issues the Warriors had against the Grizzlies on Monday night were present in Wednesday night’s loss. Early in the game, the Warriors missed numerous point-blank layups and wide-open midrange shots, high-percentage shots that one just expects to fall. The Warriors shot 33.3% from the field in the first half, helping the Knicks to jump out to that massive advantage.

In the past, when the Warriors missed a layup or a dunk, there was always the sense that they could make it up with one impressive barrage of three-pointers. But without Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson providing that firepower, the Warriors need to be more careful about capitalizing on offensive opportunities when they have them.

Just as he was against the Grizzlies, Eric Paschall was so bothered by an opponent’s length and physicality that his offensive game was totally disrupted. Paschall scored just 5 points in Wednesday night’s loss to the Knicks and grabbed 1 rebound. Teams are now game-planning for the rookie from Villanova, making a concerted effort to slow him down.

This is a part of the learning and development process for Paschall, figuring out what to do when he’s unable to do whatever he wants on the court. The Warriors will need him to take that next step, learn how to counter when an opponent who is specifically game-planning to stop him, before they will be able to make big improvements this season.

New York Knicks v Golden State Warriors
Wednesday night was another game to forget for Warriors rookie Eric Paschall
Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Warriors also struggled from three-point range against the Knicks, going 10/37 from long distance. This wasn’t an issue of the Warriors taking bad shots or the Knicks defending the three-point line well. The Warriors had open looks from beyond the arc throughout the game, they just did not make them. That said, there was one player who did not suffer from the long-distance shooting woes that befell the rest of the team.

D’Angelo Russell managed to have a good night from beyond the arc, going 6/14 from three-point range on his way to scoring 32 points. One of those three-pointers came with time running out in the game to push the game into overtime.

But outside of Russell, there was not much production from long distance.The Warriors aren’t expecting Splash Brothers-level production out of players like Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III, but they will need them to make open looks from three-point range with at least some regularity. That was not the case against the Knicks and it’s a major part of why they lost this game.

Morris takes advantage of soft Warriors defense

Leading the way for the Knicks tonight was not the rookie Barrett, although he did score 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Rather it was a veteran player in Marcus Morris who led the way for the visitors from the Eastern Conference.

Morris scored 36 points in the win over the Warriors, going 5/9 from three-point range. The defensive issues the Warriors had on Monday night returned in the game against the Knicks. Their rotations were not tight and too often they left shooters open, specifically Morris (who is a competent shooter from three-point range).

New York Knicks v Golden State Warriors
The Warriors left Marcus Morris Sr. open too many times and that cost them in Wednesday night’s loss to the Knicks.
Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

In addition to Morris and his three-point shooting, the Knicks used their size and their glut of power forwards to dominate the paint. The Knicks scored 54 points in the paint in Wednesday night’s win. It was that domination of the paint that allowed the Knicks to jump out to that early lead as they had 32 points in the paint in the first half alone. Players like Bobby Portis and Julius Randle took advantage of the Warriors’ lack of size and physicality and feasted in the paint, helping the Knicks to get off to a hot start.

The Warriors did to one good thing defensively—force the Knicks into turnovers. The Knicks turned the ball over 19 times on Wednesday night, resulting in 27 points for the Warriors. 13 of those turnovers came in the second half alone, resulting in 19 points for the Warriors that allowed them to get back into the game.

But those turnovers weren’t enough and the Warriors’ suspect defensive effort, especially against the three-point shot, led to a dispiriting home defeat.

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