Wednesday, February 27, 2013
W2W4: Knicks vs. Warriors
By Jared Zwerling
The Knicks and Warriors have one main thing in common: They both love the long ball.
While the Knicks are sixth in the NBA in 3-point percentage (37.4), the Warriors are first (39.4). They feature the NBA's best outside-shooting backcourt: Starting point guard Stephen Curry is first in 3-pointers made (166, 44.6 percent) and his sidekick, Klay Thompson, is third (144; 38.7 percent).
That's where the containment starts for the Knicks on Wednesday at the Garden, with tipoff at 8 p.m. on ESPN. Here are three other things to watch for:
1. Containing Curry: With the speedy and crafty Curry leading the pack, the Warriors build decisive leads in transition. They're averaging 14.6 fast-break points per game, good enough for 10th-best in the league. The Knicks' guards, Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Iman Shumpert and Pablo Prigioni, are all going to have to be on high alert tonight while guarding Curry. (Prigioni may not play due to back spasms.)
Not only is Curry fast in the open court, but he covers the entire half court in different sets. He works well off pick-and-rolls, back screens, cross screens -- you name it. The Warriors utilize him as an everything-type guard, and he's a high-energy player throughout the entire game.
With Curry's explosiveness off the dribble, the Warriors love camping out in the corners for 3s, so that means that the Knicks need to limit their switches. The more they can stick to their man, the better off they'll be. That's how the Warriors will be approaching the Knicks' offense, as New York is just as capable with its 3-point shooting.
2. Carmelo Anthony ailing, David Lee suspended: Could the two All-Stars square off tonight? No. Melo is probable with a stomach virus that prevented him from attending the morning shootaround, but Lee will serve a one-game suspension for his role in a the Warriors-Pacers scuffle on Tuesday night in Indiana.
3. Kenyon? Could the Knicks' newest acquisition, Kenyon Martin, make his season debut tonight? While Tyson Chandler has been playing more lately with the second unit, they're still missing another down-low stopper as well as someone who can show well while guarding pick-and-rolls.
Chandler has raved about Martin's defensive versatility. "He's going to bring a lot," the All-Star center said on Tuesday. "We can switch him in a lot of good positions. He's great in pick-and-roll sets, great with trapping and he's athletic."