By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Knicks vs. Warriors | Oracle Arena
When: Monday | 10:30 PM
Where to Watch: MSG Networks
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
New York: And so it begins...The five-game road trip that we've had circled on our calendars opens tonight in Oakland. The Knicks remain in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference, a half game up on Indiana (two in the in the loss column), as they embark on a stretch that will take them to Denver, Portland, L.A. (Clippers), and finally Utah before returning to MSG. They will be without Amar'e Stoudemire for roughly the remainder of the regular season as he undergoes debridement surgery on his right knee. After missing the last three-plus games with his own knee issue, Carmelo Anthony remains "day-to-day," questionable to return.
UPDATE: Melo announced after shootaround that he plans to play tonight.
Golden State: As one Bay Area writer recently tweeted, "I'd press the Warriors panic button, but who would hear it over the Utah alarm sirens?" At one point thought of as darkhorse contenders in the Western Conference, Golden State's recent slide is mitigated only somewhat by Utah's own tumble down the standings. The Warriors are 5-12 over their last 17 games, and coach Mark Jackson has voiced him disappointment in the team's defense, which has slipped to 18th in the league after a strong start.
Last Time Out
New York: Despite playing without Anthony again and finding out Stoudemire would miss at least six weeks, the Knicks disposed of Utah, 113-84, on Saturday night.
Golden State: The struggles continued for Golden State, who lost to Milwaukee, 103-93, on Saturday.
The Numbers Game
The Knicks are 26-5 when Steve Novak attempts at least five shots.
Matchup to Watch
Iman Shumpert vs. Stephen Curry
After his performance in Madison Square Garden a couple weeks ago, all eyes will be on Curry. But as we learned then, you don't score 54 points because of bad defense. There is no way a team surrenders that many clean looks -- no, you have to make a good amount of contested shots. Curry did that, off the dribble, looking away, and with hands in his face. At some point tonight, Shump is likely to get a shot on Curry, especially if he starts heating up again.
What to Look For
After missing the last three games, will Melo play tonight? If not, how will the Knicks compensate? Over the past few, the formula of ball movement and aggressive defense has worked, with Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni leading the charge, J.R. Smith stepping into a more prominent scoring role and Steve Novak spacing the floor. If the Knicks are to start this road trip out with a win, they'll have to keep Curry and Klay Thompson off the three-point line. Andrew Bogut is back in the lineup, so Tyson Chandler will be tested against one of the best rebounding and defensive bigs in the game.