Monday, March 11, 2013
W2W4: Knicks at Warriors
By Jared Zwerling
That's how many points Stephen Curry rung up on the Knicks on Feb. 27 at the Garden. He shot a remarkable 11-for-13 from 3-point range. But the Bockers pulled out a victory with great trapping defense on Curry in the final minute, winning 109-105.
On Monday night (10:30 ET), it's Round 2 at the Oracle Arena. Carmelo Anthony is listed as probable (sore and stiff right knee). Fellow All-Star David Lee, who missed the last game versus the Knicks because of a suspension, sat out Golden State's game on Saturday with a right knee contusion.
Here are three main things to watch for:
1. Transition defense is paramount. This has been on repeat for the Knicks all season, but it will be an absolute must on their five-game road trip -- and it starts tonight against Curry. While he hit some unbelievable 3s spinning off pick and rolls, setting up without even looking at the basket, a few he made came in transition with the Knicks' defenders nowhere in sight. For the game, the Warriors had 16 fast-break points, while the Knicks had nine.
Iman Shumpert's defense will be key on the road trip, as the Knicks are facing four legit point guards: Curry, Ty Lawson, Damian Lillard, Chris Paul and Mo Williams. A positive for the team is that Shump looked a lot more spry on both ends of the floor in Saturday night's 113-84 win over Utah, collecting four steals and attacking the hoop with more aggression (he was 8-for-10 from the line, a season high).
2. Who's going to stop Lee?Kurt Thomas? Mike Woodson will announce his first unit later Monday, and perhaps Kenyon Martin should start at the 4. The younger, more agile and athletic Martin played great defense against Kevin Durant last week. On the Knicks' road trip, against teams that play at a faster pace, maintaining control in the first quarter will be very important.
3. More burn for Cope. Twelve points in only seven fourth-quarter minutes on Saturday? That calls for more playing time off the bench for Chris Copeland, especially without Amar'e Stoudemire for six weeks (right knee debridement) and if Anthony can't go. Against some of the best scoring teams out West, the Knicks are going to need all the points they can get. And Mr. Copeland is "IGB," which is the nickname he gave himself that stands for "I Get Buckets." What he does defensively is the question.