Knicks @ Warriors 10:30 PM – Oracle Arena
Where to Watch: MSG
Where to Listen: ESPN 1050 AM
The Knicks returned to Madison Square Garden Training Center on Monday and Tuesday before boarding a flight for the first road trip of the season. While Iman Shumpert is sidelined with a strained right knee ligament, Mike Bibby looked healthy and prepared to take over the back-up point guard duties as head coach Mike D’Antoni confirmed on Tuesday. New York also added another guard by claiming Jeremy Lin off waivers. Lin will meet the team in San Francisco and travel with them for the remainder of the road trip. The Harvard graduate played 29 games for the Warriors last season.
On Monday night, Stephen Curry landed on Kyle Kover’s foot, resulting in a tweak of his surgically repaired left ankle. From a report in the USA Today, Curry will sit out Wednesday’s contest against the Knicks. For the past several years, the Warriors have compiled a team filled with impressive talent and high expectations. However, Golden State has failed to live up to the hype, leading to a new regime that will be spearheaded by former ABC color analyst and Knicks point guard Mark Jackson. The Warriors hope to mesh their run-and-gun mentality with a focused approach on the defensive end of the floor. During the truncated free agency period, Golden State was aggressive by attempting to land big men Tyson Chandler and DeAndre Jordan. Of course, Chandler decided to join the Knicks while Jordan re-signed with the Clippers. The Warriors still have a presence in the paint as David Lee enters his second season in Golden State and former No. 1 overall pick Kwame Brown was acquired prior to the opener. This year’s team did add some depth by drafting Klay Thompson and brining in Brandon Rush.
Last Time Out
Carmelo Anthony led a fourth quarter surge by the Knicks as he dropped 17 of his 37 points in the final stanza to lead New York over Boston 106-104 on Christmas Day. Amar’e Stoudemire added 21 and Toney Douglas finished with 19 points to give the Knicks a 1-0 start to the season.
Following an opening night loss to the Clippers, Golden State bounced back with a 99-91 victory over the Bulls. The Warriors limited last year’s MVP Derrick Rose to just 13 points while Curry, Monta Ellis, and Lee combined for 69 points.
The Numbers Game
Amar’e Stoudemire averaged 29.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in two meetings against Golden State last season. Golden State’s Monta Ellis averaged 31 points on 52 percent shooting in two games against New York last season.
Match-up to Watch
Monta Ellis vs. Knicks Backcourt
It will be interesting to see where Jackson places Ellis on the floor. The new Warriors head man may elect to use Ellis at the point guard spot and start Rush or Thompson on the wing. Regardless, Ellis is a prolific scorer with an explosive first step and deep range. The Knicks backcourt players must force him to give up the ball and force low percentage shots from Ellis.
What to Look For
The Knicks are hoping to ride the momentum of an exhilarating season opening win against a division rival. Now, the grind begins with three games in four nights on the current West Coast swing. D’Antoni said the team looked to recover from Sunday’s game, focused on their defensive approach, and cleaned up the offense during the last two days of practice. Expect a high scoring affair between two teams that can light up the scoreboard after ranking in the top 10 in points per game last season. This game might turn into an exciting offensive spectacle but the team that limits turnovers and halts easy transition buckets will end up snatching a victory at Oracle Arena.