By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Knicks vs. Warriors | Madison Square Garden
When: Wednesday | 8:00 PM
Where to Watch: MSG Networks
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
New York: The Knicks put an end to their season-high four-game losing streak with a win over Philly on Sunday by turning up the defensive pressure. Mike Woodson and his players spoke about trapping and not letting the Sixers dictate what they wanted to do offensively, and the strategy paid off. Amar'e Stoudemire was fantastic off the bench, scoring 22 points on 9-for-10 shooting and Carmelo Anthony got to the free throw line a seaosn-high 18 times. One other possible reason for the improved play: it was the first game they had played at Madison Square Garden in 11 days.
Golden State: Aside from a recent six-game losing streak, the Warriors have been one of the surprise playoff contenders to emerge this year. Stephen Curry (pronouned "Stef-in") and Klay Thompson make up one of the best shooting backcourts in the league, and David Lee has been a double-double machine operating in the high post. They also feature Jarrett Jack, one of the primary contenders for 6th Man of the Year. Coach Mark Jackson has them playing better defense than in past years, when they were regularly among the worst in the league.
Update: Lee has been suspended for tonight's game for his role in an altercation on the court last night against the Pacers.
Last Time Out
New York: The Knicks returned home after more than 10 days away from Madison Square Garden to beat the Sixers, 99-93, on Sunday.
Golden State: The Warriors fell to the Pacers, 108-97, last night, despite 38 points from Curry.
The Numbers Game
Bombs away: The Warriors (2nd) and Knicks (6th) are two of the best 3-point shooting teams in the NBA.
Matchup to Watch
Carmelo Anthony vs. Harrison Barnes
Anthony starts at the 4, but with the way Amar'e Stoudemire has been playing recently, it would be surprising not to see the Knicks go with a more traditional lineup that shifts Melo back to the 3 for stretches. In those instances, it will be interesting to see how he matches up with Barnes, the seventh overall pick from this year's draft. Barnes is not yet a complete player, but he does a bunch of things well: he can shoot from range (35% from 3), take it to the hole, and he is not afraid to dig in on the defensive end. He has the size to match up with Melo and a knack for throwing down highlight dunks, so this will be a challenge on both ends of the floor.
What to Look For
The Knicks credit much of their defensive success against Philly to their aggressive, trapping defensive attack. They said after the game that they intended to prevent the Sixers from dictating the flow of their offense, and it is worth watching to see if they try to do the same to Golden State. Curry is as good a shooter as there is in the NBA, and he can get his shot off with only a sliver of room. With Thompson, Barnes and Jack also in the fold, defending the perimeter is crucial. The Warriors like to get the ball to Lee at the high post and let him facilitate, so whether it's Tyson Chandler or Anthony, cutting off his looks will also be important. On offense, the Knicks can get what they want if they play within their gameplan. A big part of that is Stoudemire continuing to take high-percentage shots to put pressure on the defensively-challenged Lee.