Without Carmelo Anthony playing, there was no real suspense in the game between the Golden State Warriors and the New York Knicks, ending in a 106-92 win for the Western conference leaders, as Stephen Curry led the way without dishing out a single assist and Steve Kerr looked quite smug and happy with himself for the decision he took this summer.
What decision? Kerr wasn’t far from signing with the walking disaster known as the New York Knicks. Instead, he took a more ready team in the Golden State Warriors and helped upgrade it while not losing Klay Thompson who seemed to be on the trading block while there were talks regarding the possibility of adding Kevin Love via trade. That’s all ancient history right now: Love is struggling to even hit 40% of his shots with the Cavaliers and Thompson is one of the best shooting guards in the league; the best of them on other nights.
It was difficult because I’m very, very close with him and I feel like I’m indebted to him for much of what’s transpired in my career. Indebted or not, it must be quite a relief for Kerr to know it’s Derek Fisher suffering from the poison arrows of the New York press and not him. Maybe Phil Jackson did wonders for him as a player and approached him first in the coaching hunt, but Kerr isn’t a masochist.
Curry scored 22 points and finished without a single assist for the first time since February 2012, and only the fourth time in his career without an assist. Draymond Green had one of those nights in which he realizes what a good offensive player he can be and added 20 points to go along with his 13 rebounds. Klay Thompson on an awful shooting night (5-of-22 from the field) scored 16 points; against the Knicks you can be this bad with your shot and still win comfortable.
For the Knicks, Langston Galloway was the top scorer with 15 points. Like Thompson, he decided to do it in the most inefficient of ways, hitting only 5 of his 19 attempts. Jason Smith scored 14 points and Amar’e Stoudemire added 13 off the bench, but the former All-Star is in the midst of buyout talks with the front office, hoping that after the All-Star break he’ll be playing on a different team without the hopeless feeling surrounding him in every game and practice.
For the Warriors it was a nice way to bounce back from a loss to the Hawks which might be just one regular season loss, but might have a ripple effect. The Warriors have bounced back well from losses before in this season, and yet realizing they might not be all that and against an Eastern conference team adding insult to injury can have its effect on teams with a weak mentality. We haven’t seen that to be the case with the Warriors at this point.
For the Knicks, a loss, even at home, by 16 points, is nothing to even raise an eyebrow at. Last season was the beginning of the slow decline towards bottoming out. This season is about completing the cycle and finishing at the last place in the conference, improving the possibilities of having a smiling face at the end of the draft lottery broadcast. Maybe the triangle offense still belongs in the NBA, but we won’t really know until the Knicks have more than one or two good players.