Tonight Stephen Curry debuted a new edition of his signature shoes featuring the stats from his 54-point barrage at Madison Square Garden a year ago. He only scored half that many this time, but added 11 rebounds and 11 assists in a 126-103 blowout of the Knicks, a game where Curry and the rest of the starters weren’t needed at all in the fourth quarter.
Maybe the score of tonight’s win will be plastered on next year’s MSG sneakers.
“To get a win this year is bigger than any stats, but to play well and try to impact the game the way I wanted to definitely felt great,” said Curry, who notched his third triple double of the season (that puts him second in the NBA behind Lance Stephenson, who has four).
“It’s pretty special. I hadn’t had one since my rookie year before this year started,” said Curry. “Two of them this year were in three quarters, which is pretty cool to rest in the fourth quarter and have some fun.”
The Warriors (36-23) lost last year’s game at MSG despite Curry’s historic night, but the Knicks have crumbled since last season. Last year, 54 wasn’t just Curry’s point total at MSG — it was New York’s win total. Seriously.
If they win their last 23 games of this nightmarish season, they’ll have 44 victories. Since they’ve gone 2-11 in February, there’s a better chance they’ll lose 54 in 2013-14.
This was the perfect opponent to boost Golden State’s confidence after their dreary loss in Chicago two nights earlier. The Bulls displayed brutal physicality and kept the Warriors from getting where they wanted to go, Curry most of all. The Knicks played no defense whatsoever, allowing the Warriors score 23 points in the first six minutes and 73 in the first half.
The only fight the Bockers showed was fake toughness, when Marreese Speights pissed off Tyson Chandler. Chandler clearly wanted to get tossed from the game (baseball fans call it “pulling a Bobby Cox”), and Speights ended up with a 12-point fourth quarter while Chandler got to shower before the rest of his teammates.
When Speights is having the last laugh, you know things are going badly. The MSG crowd let the Knicks know just how badly when they booed the Knicks off the floor to end both the second and fourth quarters.
Curry looked like he was playing at a different speed compared to the Knicks. So did Klay Thompson, who scored 25 points for the first time in 18 games.
“It’s different,” said Thompson of playing at MSG. “It feels great. Makes you feel like a rookie again.”
Thompson went 9-for-17 from the field (5-for-10 on 3-pointers), and could be re-finding his stroke. In the first three games after the All-Star Break, Thompson made 35.7% of his shots and 10% of his threes. In the three games since: 54% on all field goals and 52.9% from behind the arc.
“There’s people that quite honestly don’t appreciate what Klay does on a nightly basis. We ask him to defend the best perimeter player the majority of the time on the opposing team,” said Mark Jackson. “He’s not even low maintenance. He’s no maintenance. Has not missed a game in his professional career. Very coachable.”
Thompson also had a hand in one of the Warriors’ best sequences of the game. Curry lost the ball near midcourt, leading to a breakaway opportunity for Carmelo Anthony. Instead of letting Anthony score, Thompson harassed Anthony into missing a layup. As Anthony got all emo and stared into the heavens, probably asking “why me?” like Nancy Kerrigan, Thompson raced down and nailed a three in transition.
– The Warriors committed 15 turnovers (exactly the number they want to go under each game), but that didn’t stop them from getting one step closer to 50 wins.
– Anthony went 7-for-26, the third time this season that he’s missed 19 shots or more in a game.
– Jordan Crawford had a rough game, but this might be a little harsh:
Jordan Crawford is still officially awful.
— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) March 1, 2014
Or not, I don’t know. Besides some garbage time points in Chicago, Crawford has really been scuffling lately.
– Jermaine O’Neal had 15 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes, and looked faster and more explosive than Chandler.
– Andrew Bogut picked up three fouls early, and that’s something we might see more of. With O’Neal playing so well, the Warriors can afford to have Bogut go all out on both ends and hope the refs let some contact go. The Warriors were screwed earlier in the season whenever Bogut got into foul trouble, but that shouldn’t be as much of a worry these days.
– Jeremy Tyler was the first guy off the Knicks’ bench. Yes, THAT Jeremy Tyler.
– The Mavericks lost to the Bulls (who are on fire right now and will reportedly add Jimmer Fredette). That moved the Warriors a half game ahead of Dallas into sole possession of the No. 6 seed. Memphis also lost to Oklahoma City, so Golden State is now three games ahead of the Western Conference’s ninth place team.