When Dennis Rodman is packing for a trip to the Vatican to straight out all the boys in the conical hats, anything is possible. And I mean anything.
Including, and this is even less likely than Rodman getting an audience with anyone not currently enlisted in the Swiss Guard and carrying a pointy lance, the Warriors holding a team to 63 points in a game.
[REWIND: Instant Replay -- Warriors 92, Knicks 63]
The Warriors. Yeah. The Golden State Warriors. They held a team under 70 points, and not just your standard Charlotte Hornets-Northern Illinois Huskies-level team. The New York Knickerbockers, the second-best team in the Eastern Conference.
And you know what that tells us? Nothing whatsoever. That’s how “anything can happen” this is.
Yes, the Warriors defended with an unusual passion last night, committing 14 turnovers but allowing only nine points from those turnovers. And yes, the Knicks were banged up, as they always seem to be, and flying across the country to start a long Pacific and Mountain Daylight Time road trip.
But the one thing we know about the Warriors, especially THESE Warriors, is that nothing can be assumed, ever. Their days of playing with momentum are over, and every game is an unholy grind because nobody ever knows which Warriors will be attending.
You think otherwise? Before the game, Mark Jackson sounded as pessimistic as he has all year long, as though the losses to Houston and Milwaukee were the last straws in an unraveling wicker basket. It wasn’t exactly Don Nelson’s concession speech in Chicago in the We Believe year, but it was Jackson’s most dramatic departure from his typical theme, which is “All Is Well.”
[RELATED: Jackson confident Warriors will finish season strong]
But the Knicks proved him a liar by shooting 27.4 percent, which is beneath horrible, got two points on fast breaks, which is beneath that, and in all ways performed as badly as a team can perform. So badly, as it turns out, that this game must be considered more an anomaly than a signpost. When Atlanta rolled up 58 against the Chicago Bulls on January 14, they came back two nights later and blitzed Brooklyn. And the Bulls barely beat a sub-mediocre Toronto team in overtime two nights later.
In short, sometimes detritus just happens, and the smart money is to assume nothing long term.
The Warriors are still a confounding team, the product of going a defense-and-rebounding oriented 30-17, then a screw-defense-we’re-the-Warriors 6-12, with a side foray to let’s-not-do-either sometimes.
[RELATED: Steinmetz -- What's plaguing the Warriors?]
Monday was a let’s-do-both-and-see-how-that-works, and that explained part of the happy evening. But the Knicks were as responsible for the defensive performance as the Warriors, because one cannot score 40 points in the last three quarters just because the defense is too good.
And the offense? A fourth consecutive game under 100 for a team that lives and dies with the jump shot makes one wonder if there isn’t more work to be done on that end. The Warriors were 11 of 20 from beyond the arc, but only 21 of 58 inside it, so make sense of that.
But that’s the lesson here, that there is no lesson. The Warriors still have a lot of scares to provide you before the season ends, and while the assumption since December has been that they are a playoff team, they are only 2 ½ games ahead of the cutoff point, currently shared by Utah and the Los Angeles Lakers, and 17 games is a long time to protect a lead that slim.
In sum, drink up, kids. This is still nowhere near done, and nowhere near coherent.