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Warriors vs. Knicks Preview: Time to feast

The Warriors are better than the Knicks. They need to act like it.

Golden State Warriors v New York Knicks Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors have four two-game winning streaks this season. They don’t yet have a three-game winning streak. All in favor of that changing tonight, call Steve Kerr and politely ask him to win this game, please.

The deets

Who: Golden State Warriors (8-6) vs. New York Knicks (7-8)

When: 7:00 p.m. PT

Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, California

TV: NBC Sports Bay Area

Projected starting lineups:

Warriors: Stephen Curry, Kelly Oubre Jr., Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, James Wiseman
Knicks: Elfrid Payton, RJ Barrett, Reggie Bullock, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson

Last results:

Warriors: Beat the Spurs 121-99 — 3-2 in their last 5 games
Knicks: Beat the Magic 91-84 — 2-3 in their last 5 games

Team ratings (garbage-time adjusted, per Cleaning the Glass):

Warriors: 107.5 offense (22nd), 109.4 defense (11th), -1.9 net (18th)
Knicks: 104.6 (28th), 106.6 defense (5th), -2.0 (19th)

The story

The Warriors are rounding into a good team, and one thing they’ve done well is take care of business when they have to. The Dubs have gone 4-0 against teams that didn’t make the playoffs last year, and the Knicks present a chance for the Warriors to add to that.

Golden State’s defense has been nothing short of excellent ever since Draymond Green returned, and the Knicks have one of the worst offenses in the league. The Warriors need to put their stamp on things, and be a bully. Here’s their chance.

Players to watch

Warrior to watch: James Wiseman.

Wiseman had perhaps the best game of his career on Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs, with 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. He was efficient, aggressive, relied on his athleticism the right amount, and played great defense on LaMarcus Aldridge.

Now he gets matched up with Mitchell Robinson, one of the few centers in the league who can give Wiseman a run for his money in the athleticism department.

Wiseman needs to keep attacking the rim against an elite shot blocker like Robinson. After the Spurs game, he talked at length about his love for watching film and asking questions, and his passion for getting better. This is a great opportunity for him.

Knick to watch: RJ Barrett.

Last year’s No. 3 pick is still trying to figure things out at the NBA level, and he’s a long ways off. He’s putting up good per game numbers (17.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 3.4 assists), but he’s wildly inefficient, struggles with defense, and is still figuring out the fine details of the game.

But my word he has talent, and he shows it. Nothing displays the full Barrett experience like the first two games of the season: in the opener he had 26 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and just 1 turnover, while shooting 11-for-15. In the next game he had 10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 turnovers, while shooting 2-for-15. That’s been the tale of his season.

The Warriors will be hoping for the latter, not the former.

Matchup to watch: Draymond Green vs. Julius Randle.

I find myself putting Green in this segment a lot, because watching him play defense is tremendous fun, and usually a big key for the Dubs. And that’s the case tonight. Randle has been the Knicks go-to player, averaging 22.8 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game.

Green will be tasked with slowing Randle down, and something tells me he’s up for the challenge.

Keys to victory

  • Keep the energy on the second night of an emotional back to back
  • Play with the confidence that comes from being the better team, but don’t take a win for granted
  • Be aggressive against Mitchell Robinson

Let’s get a three-game winning streak, Dubs.

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