By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Knicks vs. Warriors | Madison Square Garden
When: Thursday | 8:00 PM
Where to Watch: MSG
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
New York (21-37): The Knicks are looking to turn things around after another tough loss last night in Miami. It was their 10th defeat in the last 12 games, a five-point game at halftime that turned into a 26-point loss as the second half got out of hand. Carmelo Anthony, who scored 24 points in the first two quarters, managed only four more points the rest of the night on six shot attempts as he attempted to carry the Knicks against the two-time defending champs. Tyson Chandler continued his strong play with 19 points and 16 rebounds, but New York's supporting cast couldn't pick up the slack and Miami pulled away in the second half.
Golden State (35-23): A year and one day after Stephen Curry exploded for 54 points at the Garden, the Warriors return having won four of their last five games. With the addition of Andre Iguodala, Golden State has become one of the best defensive teams in the league (ranked 3rd in the NBA in points allowed per 100 possessions), despite its reputation as an offensive powerhouse (ranked 14th). Curry and fellow "Splash Brother" Klay Thompson form one of the deadliest backcourt tandems from the perimeter, and former Knick Mark Jackson's team has plenty of weapons to move up from its current 7th place in the Western Conference.
The Numbers Game
Iguodala's defensive impact, quantified: After Iggy left Philadelphia, the Sixers slipped 12 spots in defensive efficiency, while his new team (Denver) improved by eight spots. When he left Denver, the Nuggets dropped nine spots and the Warriors have seen a 10-spot jump.
Matchup to Watch
Tyson Chandler vs. Andrew Bogut
Two of the most dynamic defensive centers go head to head in tonight's matchup. Bogut is having arguably his best defensive season, allowing a career-low 95 points per 100 possessions as the anchor of the Warriors' back line. His physical nature and ability to protect the rim allow Curry and Thompson to play aggressively along the perimeter and, most importantly, makes up for the defensive shortcomings of former Knick David Lee. Chandler has been fantastic recently, averaging over 15 rebounds per game over his last five.
What to Look For
Despite having two of the game's most prolific shooters in Curry (41.6% from 3) and Thompson (40.5%), the Warriors are only eighth in the NBA in 3-pointers attempted. Nevertheless, they can catch fire from downtown at any moment and that opens up driving lanes for Iguodala, Harrison Barnes and others. The Knicks got just over 20 minutes from new additions Earl Clark and Shannon Brown last night in Miami; Coach Mike Woodson could call their numbers for more extended time on the second night of a back-to-back...Tim Hardaway Jr. will be looking to bounce back after an uncharacterstic 2-for-15 shooting night against the Heat.