Steph, Melo set to do battle at MSG
Stephen Curry scored 54 points with 11 made three-pointers in his last trip to Madison Square Garden. (USATSI)
KEYS TO THE GAME:
1. Smother the NY shooters. If Anthony or Smith gets on a hot streak, their teammates rally around them.
2. Move the ball. The Knicks don't care to guard the perimeter, so somebody will always be open.
3. Limit the turnovers. Don't let Anthony and Smith get easy buckets in transition.
Programming note: Warriors-Knicks coverage tips off today at 4:30 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (territory restrictions apply)
Mark Jackson didn't yell at his team. He didn't throw anything or kick anyone or threaten to bench anybody.
He trusts his Warriors will recover from a Wednesday night performance in Chicago that was by turns sloppy and barren, and make a more representative statement Friday night in New York.
"Unfortunately, you have those nights in the NBA," forward David Lee said. "The important thing is to keep our heads up and get ready for the next game."
The Knicks (21-37) are, to be sure, nobody's Bulls. After a 108-82 loss in Miami Thursday night, New York forward Raymond Felton sensed a white flag going up.
We're not playing like a team that's fighting to make the playoffs," he told reporters in Miami.
Not that such a statement should influence the Warriors (35-23), who are in the thick of the Western Conference playoffs race. Their purpose on Friday has to be re-establishing the defensive intensity and offensive wisdom displayed while winning their first four games after the All-Star break.
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The Warriors will have, for the first time in nearly a month, their entire rotation. Lee returned Wednesday, after a two-game absence, and center Andrew Bogut returned Monday night after missing seven games.
It's the strongest team the Warriors have brought to New York in many years. In last year's game, made famous by Stephen Curry's incredible 54-point outburst, Lee serving a one-game suspension, and the teams did not meet in New York in the shortened 2011-12 season.
[REWIND: Breakdown: Curry's 54-point night]
Though Curry's performance was one for the ages, the Warriors lost the game. Another loss, at this point of the season, against this Knicks team, would be fairly devastating -- especially given the Warriors' good health.
"Different situation we were in last year with the lineup we were going to throw out there," Curry told reporters in New York. "So I'm just ready to get a win and enjoy it even more."
This is the third of six games the Warriors will play on the road before returning home March 7. After New York, it's on to Toronto and then Indiana and, finally, Boston.
This, though, is New York. It's where Lee once played, where Curry put his name in lights. It’s where Jackson was born and raised and also played.
So intensity -- on defense or offense or anywhere else in the building -- should not be a problem.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Andre Iguodala/Draymond Green/Klay Thompson vs. Carmelo Anthony/J.R. Smith. With Amar'e Stoudemire hobbling about as a part-time player, Melo and J.R. are the primary offensive threats. They demand attention from the Warriors' best defenders.
Curry vs. everybody. The Knicks will do all they can to keep Steph from repeating his act from last season. They'll send Pablo Prigioni or Tim Hardaway Jr. or newly acquired Shannon Brown or maybe even Toure' Murry. No matter what, Curry is capable of foiling the plan by shooting or passing.
INJURY UPDATE: For the Warriors, C Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery) and G Nemanja Nedovic (strained left hamstring, right foot inflammation) are out.
For the Knicks, G Iman Shumpert (sprained left knee), F Andrea Bargnani (torn ligament in left elbow), F Kenyon Martin (sprained left ankle) are out.
LAST 10: Warriors 6-4, Knicks 2-8.
SERIES HISTORY: The teams split two games last season, each winning on its home floor. The Warriors have won 15 of the last 20 meetings overall.