Before the Warriors and New York Knicks matched up Thursday night, Kristaps Porzingis said he was ready for Draymond Green. But it turns out it was Green who was ready.
The Warriors cruised past the Knicks 103-90 behind Green, who held the budding star to just eight points on 4-13 shooting and five rebounds, way below his 20 point, seven rebound average.
This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Warriors’ locker room at Oracle Arena.
If there’s one thing that should be learned by now is that the Warriors read everything about them, especially the bad, and feed off it like ravenous dogs.
But specifically, Green who said his Nike rep showed him the comments right before tip:
“It kind of pissed me off, and it made me want to go a little harder this game. I was kind of in la-la land before he showed me that, and that just immediately pissed me off. I like the passion, I like that you want to see me again but keep that to yourself. That made it real personal for me.”
So it was no surprise he came out very aggressive defensively, pressuring Porzingis whenever he touched the ball, and without the help of either Carmelo Anthony or Derrick Rose, both sitting out with injuries, the Knicks were left with little to no options.
Without their opposing stars it looked like the Warriors were bored with this matchup and started to get their Rajon Rondo on, aka pass up every open look so they could rack up the assist numbers.
Steve Kerr said the ball movement was nice but he didn’t like much else:
“I thought that was maybe the lone bright spot of the game was our guys willingness to share. They really look for each other. I didn’t think there was much purpose to anything that we did on either end of the floor. We are probably lucky we played a team without a couple of its best players, but we looked tired and disinterested out there.”
The Warriors finished with 41 assists on 45 made buckets, but started the game with 36 straight assisted field goals, just an absolute absurd number, before it was broken with 1:10 seconds left in the third quarter by Ian Clark.
Stephen Curry made sure to jokingly call out Clark for breaking the streak:
“He’s so selfish. He’s the biggest ball hog on the team. Hopefully we’ll watch film of just that one play tomorrow.”
Force feeding JaVale McGee filled much of the game, as the veteran received practice-style lobs, and also some rare minutes in the process.
Klay Thompson said that he had high hopes for McGee from the very beginning:
“I knew he was going to be a great pickup in the preseason because he’s so long and so athletic and has great timing. He adds a different dimension when he’s on the floor just because the floor is so wide open with our starting unit out there that when we get in the paint it’s always an option to throw it up.”
That confidence might have prompted McGee to give Thompson this dap—or maybe it was the lobs he threw to the big man.
McGee is averaging just 7.7 minutes per game, the lowest in his career, yet has a usage percentage—which is the percentage of plays used by the player when he’s in the game—is 25.9%, the highest of his career.
To put that in perspective, his usage rate of 25.9% would put him in the 90th percentile of all centers in the league according to Nylon Calculus.
Step back and consider how insane that is.
But tonight it was probably higher than that as he finished with 17 points on 8-10 shooting in just 16 minutes. Most on oops like this one…
Or this one
Sometimes the players get a little too pass happy to McGee and that’s something Kerr has taken notice of:
“There were a couple of passes early that we tried to thread through traffic to him. I told the guys during an early timeout if you don’t have the clear pass to him just shoot it because if you miss he’s going to be right there for a possible tip dunk and sometimes that’s better than a pass through traffic.”
Because of their assist and lob hunting the Warriors finished with three players flirting with triple-doubles.
Green had five points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, Kevin Durant had 15 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists, and Curry finished with eight points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
It was an especially cold shooting night for those three, as they combined to shoot just 12-44, Curry was even scoreless for the first 19 minutes of game action.
But the Warriors didn’t miss their scoring at all and easily dispatched the Knicks. The rest of the games won’t be this easy but in case some are, at least we know the Warriors can keep themselves entertained.
The Warriors get a day of rest before taking on the Portland Trailblazers featuring Oakland’s own Damian Lillard Saturday. Lillard loves returning to his hometown as he sports career averages of 25.7 points and 5.7 assists per game against the Warriors.
Zaza Pachulia missed his fourth straight game with a right wrist contusion. An MRI on the wrist came back negative for any fractures but for now he is out indefinitely. … David West left the game in the second half with a hip contusion and the veteran has an MRI scheduled for tomorrow, but is considered day-to-day for now. …The Warriors stayed perfect against the Eastern Conference with their win tonight, they have opened the season 7-0 vs. teams from the East. … Ian Clark and Shaun Livingston both sported their Sager Strong shirts during warmups and Steve Kerr wore his Sager tie in honor of sideline reporter Craig Sager who passed away Thursday morning. Kerr then led Oracle not in a moment of silence, but a moment of joy: a standing ovation for Sager.