Despite an ugly fourth quarter that saw the Golden Warriors shoot just five-of-20, they still managed to hang on to beat the New York Knicks 114-106.
Stephen Curry broke a 97-97 tie with 3:38 remaining when he hit his seventh 3-pointer of the game and finished with 37 points to lead the Dubs.
After losing back-to-back heartbreakers, this is a big win for the Warriors, who are 1-2 on their four-game road trip.
Golden State had a great start to the game, leading 20-12 less than six minutes into the first. The Dubs did a great job of sharing the ball in the opening quarter, with 11 assists on 13 made baskets and led 36-31 after one.
Unfortunately, the defense couldn’t hold up against the lowest-scoring team in the league. The Knicks began to push the pace and got some easy looks to come back and take the lead. New York dominated the glass in the first half, out-rebounding the Warriors 29-20 and took a 59-55 lead at the break.
The good news is that the Dubs came out strong to start the third. Led by Curry, Oubre and Wiggins, Golden State went on a 23-6 run to start the quarter and rode that to take a 94-85 lead after three quarters. The Dubs managed to keep the Knicks at bay the rest of the way.
Here are three takeaways from the win:
The excellent fourth quarter defense
New York came into this game as the lowest-scoring team in the NBA. You wouldn’t have been able to tell that for stretches of the first and third quarters. The good news is that the Warriors locked in during the fourth. Even though the Dubs were struggling on the offensive end, they still managed to stay ahead of the Knicks thanks to their defensive intensity.
Check out New York’s fourth quarter shot-chart:
The Dubs have been a whole lot better over the past month on the defensive end, and they showed how good they could be over the final 12 minutes.
James Wiseman looks good in his return
The rookie missed the 11 games with a wrist injury and picked up where he left off. Wiseman had 14 points and two rebounds in 16 minutes of action. You can see the dimension he brings when he steps on the court.
Wiseman swallows up every pass around the rim and uses his raw athletic ability to finish over defenders. With head coach Steve Kerr electing to bring the 19-year-old off the bench, he gives the second unit some much-needed scoring punch.
“So great to have him back. he brings a lot of energy to the floor, obviously he’s immensely talented,” Kerr said following the game. “To have him out there and impact the game, and at the same time learn ... everything’s moving pretty fast for him, but he is just an incredible athlete and an incredibly mature young guy. he’s going to have such a great career.”
Wiseman’s minutes should increase as the season goes on, but it was good to see that the three-week layoff didn’t affect his performance.
Kelly Oubre Jr. learning his role in the offense
Oubre had 19 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots and is looking increasingly comfortable in Kerr’s motion-heavy offense. He’s averaging 20.1 points per game this month, up from the 13.1 points per game he put up in January.
With opposing defenses so focused on slowing down Curry, Oubre is doing a much better job of moving without the ball. Instead of staying glued to the perimeter and forcing outside shots, Oubre is cutting to the basket, resulting in some easy lay-ins.
Curry set him up beautifully for the game-clinching bucket.
Oubre is an important part of the squad. If he can maintain this level of play for the duration of the season, it will help Golden State’s playoff chances.
The Dubs wrap up their eastern road trip with a matchup against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.