Programming note: Knicks-Warriors coverage tips off Sunday at 5:30 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live, only on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
OAKLAND – Coming off their most surprising victory of the season, the Warriors now face the familiar task of trying to reproduce similar intensity for a clearly inferior opponent.
That has not always worked well, particularly at Oracle Arena, but it should not be an issue in late March and certainly not against this opponent.
The New York Knicks are one of the NBA's marquee teams, even though they've been dreadful this season. And they have in Carmelo Anthony one of the league's dangerous scorers.
“You're looking at a Knicks team with Carmelo Anthony so it's different than Orlando and Milwaukee, because you can very well look at it and say the best player on the floor is Carmelo Anthony,” coach Mark Jackson said. “He's capable of carrying a team, so it's a different situation and a different battle.
“But we're the better basketball team. And we understand what we've got to do to close out the season and how we've got to find way to continue to put 'Ws' up.”
The Warriors (45-27) likely won't have their starting center, Andrew Bogut, or their starting power forward, David Lee. Both are listed as questionable, though “doubtful” would be more accurate for two players unable to practice Saturday.
[RELATED: Warriors proceeding without big men]
Lee (strained hamstring) did not suit up on Friday, and Bogut left four minutes after tipoff, having sustained a pelvic contusion. The Warriors still found a way to grit out a 100-93 win over a Memphis team that usually is too physically strong.
“Whether we're undersized or overmatched at times, find a way to get it done,” coach Mark Jackson said. “Our principles are still our principles. To the credit of the guys that come off the bench, they've elevated their games and they've been prepared for those moments.
(On Sunday), if that's the case, we still expect to go out and take care of business.”
The Knicks (30-43) are on the outer fringe of the Eastern Conference playoff race. After winning eight in a row, they have cooled on their current road trip. They've lost three of their last four and were annihilated at Phoenix (112-88) and by the Lakers in Los Angeles (127-96).
“They're fighting for playoff position right now,” Warriors center Jermaine O'Neal said. “For us, it's about answer the bell. It's one of those humps we've been trying to over against teams that are below .500. We're trying to bring that same energy that we would bring against teams like the Memphis Grizzlies.
“You understand what the task is and how important this game really is, because if we give up a game (against a team) like the Knicks, it kind of erases what you did against Memphis.”
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Andre Iguodala vs. Anthony. Anthony (28.1 ppg) is one of the league's most explosive scorers, and Iguodala has faced him many times. If Anthony, two inches taller and 20 pounds heavier, gets too physical he'll get a dose of Draymond Green.
O'Neal vs. Tyson Chandler. Both went from preps to pros many years ago and now are aging Warriors. Both have lost some athleticism but are immensely proud. O'Neal can't rebound with Chandler but will try to pull him away from the rim.
Klay Thompson vs. J.R. Smith. Thompson should have his way on offense, as Smith won't bother to defend. But Smith is a notorious streak shooter, particularly if he finds the range in his first few shots. Thompson has to smother him from the opening tip.
INJURY UPDATE: For the Warriors, C Bogut (pelvic contusion) and PF Lee (strained right hamsting) are listed as questionable. C Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery rehab) is out.
For the Knicks, PF Andrea Bargnani (torn left elbow ligament) and PF Kenyon Martin (sprained ankle) are out.
LAST 10: Warriors 7-3, Knicks 7-3.
SERIES HISTORY: The Warriors were 126-103 winners in the first game, Feb. 28 in New York, and have won 17 of the last 22 overall. The Warriors have won 10 of the last 11 meetings in Oakland.