5 Things to Know: Warriors Enter MSG With League’s Best Record
1. For the third straight meeting, the Knicks and Sixers engaged in a hard-fought battle on Friday night in Philly. Both teams exchanged momentum shifts with lopsided quarters until the final stanza where the Sixers executed down the stretch. Carmelo Anthony’s potential game-winner from 14-feet just missed and New York fell 105-102 to conclude the two-game road trip. The Knicks recorded a 1-1 mark in games against the Magic and Sixers before returning home for a Sunday contest against the Warriors.
2. Willy Hernangomez missed his second straight game due to sprained ankle suffered in the loss to Toronto last Monday night. The rookie’s status is unclear for Sunday’s tilt against Golden State. Head coach Jeff Hornacek has utilized a lineup featuring Kristaps Porzingis at the center spot next to Lance Thomas and Carmelo Anthony in the frontcourt over the Knicks’ last two games.
3. Golden State’s prized offseason acquisition sparked some serious fear in the fan base this week. Kevin Durant suffered a sprained MCL and a bone bruise on his left leg that could sideline him for at least four weeks. While the possibility of losing Durant for the remainder of the season was a major concern, Golden State should have its leading scorer, rebounder, and shot blocker for the postseason. Without Durant in the lineup, head coach Steve Kerr placed Patrick McCaw in the starting group. To counter the loss of Durant, the Warriors picked up Matt Barnes to help build some depth at the small forward position.
4. Golden State lost its second straight game on Friday night. This doesn’t seem like a newsworthy item unless you consider the Warriors own the league-record regular-season streak (146 games) without consecutive losses. The second loss for Golden State took place in Chicago where the road team only generated 87 points in a seven-point defeat.
5. The first matchup between the two teams took place on December 16 in Oakland. The Warriors were led by Klay Thompson’s 25 points and an efficient, team-oriented style of game that resulted in 36 assists in their initial 36 buckets. New York was severely shorthanded as Anthony missed the game with a sore shoulder and Derrick Rose did not dress while suffering from back issues. Justin Holiday led the Knicks with 15 points in 23 minutes. Sunday’s contest is the final meeting in the season series and the lone trip for the Warriors to MSG.
by Jonah Ballow