NBA Gameday: Without Durant, Warriors' wings must slow down Carmelo

NBA Gameday: Without Durant, Warriors' wings must slow down Carmelo

When the Warriors walk into Madison Square Garden on Sunday morning, they’ll do so with a distinctly unfamiliar feeling. They’re lugging a losing streak.

It’s only two games, but it’s their first skid in nearly two years.

As they adjust to the loss of Kevin Durant, the Warriors (50-11) hope recovery comes in the form of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson shaking their simultaneous three-game slump. The All-Star sharpshooters are 11-of-64 (20.3 percent) from deep during that stretch.

Standing in the way will be the New York Knicks (25-37), who have spent this season mired in equal parts turmoil and ineptitude, from trade talk involving Carmelo Anthony to a beef between former Knick Charles Oakley and current owner James Dolan to their 9-24 record in games dating back to Christmas.

The Warriors, however, would be the first to acknowledge they currently have own issues.


Warriors by 9.5


Warriors Wings vs. Carmelo Anthony: Just as Chicago wing Jimmy Butler was a load last Thursday, Anthony poses a tremendous challenge for a Warriors team without Durant. Defending Anthony also will be a group effort, with Matt Barnes, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson all taking turns. Though conditions are ripe for Anthony to have a big game, there is the possibility his defense will allow as much as he gets.


Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L MCL sprain, tibial bone bruise) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Knicks: C Willy Hernangomez (L ankle sprain) and Maurice Ndour (R ankle sprain) are listed as questionable. C Joakim Noah (L knee surgery) is listed as out.


Warriors: 7-3. Knicks: 3-7.


The Warriors have won the last five meetings, including the first this season, 103-90 on Dec. 15 at Oracle Arena, 11 of the last 14 and 22 of the last 28. They have won 10 of the last 14 in New York.


THE FOURS/FIVES: Neither Draymond Green nor Kristaps Porzingis is a traditional power forward. They’ll see plenty of each other partly because both will spend considerable time at center. Green has had great success defending KP, and he’ll lean on that history while making adjustments as the game unfolds.

THE POINT MEN: Two point guards have won MVP trophies over the past 10 seasons: Derrick Rose of the Knicks once (2011), and Curry twice (2015, 2016). Each will try to dictate tempo, with Rose using force and Curry using finesse. Rose needs to be superb, and even that may not be enough if Curry shakes his slump.

THE TEMPO GAME: That the Knicks are 13th in pace but first in field-goal attempts is indicative of climbing the offensive glass (fifth in offensive-rebound percentage) and relying on volume shooting. The Warriors will try to speed them up in hopes of forcing quick shots and turnovers.

Cook gives injured Warriors 'huge boost' in anomalous loss


Cook gives injured Warriors 'huge boost' in anomalous loss

OAKLAND -- If Quinn Cook plays at anything close to the level he performed Friday night against the Kings, the Warriors should avoid any catastrophic stumbling in the absence of their top three scorers.

They stumbled plenty in a 98-93 loss to Sacramento, but not because of Cook. The two-way player who has spent most of the season with G-League Santa Cruz scored a team-high 25 points, shot 10-of-13 from the field and played respectable defense.

He did more than could have been reasonably expected.

“I felt like this was coming,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He was fantastic. He really lit it up and gave us a huge boost.”

The Warriors ran into problems elsewhere, shared among the usually reliable veterans who need to be particularly reliable in the absence of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.

Usual starters Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia combined to shoot 6-of-20.

Usual reserves Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, David West and Nick Young shot a collective 13-of-39.

In the second half, when Warriors mustered only 34 points -- a season-low for any half -- the six vets combined to take 32 shots and missed 24.

Those are atrocious numbers and they explain what went wrong in a game that was there for the taking.

They’re also an anomaly.

“We just couldn’t get anything going,” Green said. “But we got some good shots. We got ‘Dre on a couple of pull-ups in the lane, I got a couple open shots, Nick got a couple open shots, Zaza got a couple open ones. D-West had one pop in and out. (Kevon Looney) had two pop in and out.

“We just got cold. But hopefully those shots will fall tomorrow.”

West, returning after missing four games with a cyst on his right arm, was 1-of-6 from the field. He came into this game as a 60.8-percent shooter this season.

Igoudala was 4-of-10; he shot 70 percent over the previous 10 games. Young was 5-of-15, well below his 44-percent shooting this season. Livingston’s 3-of-8 shooting is uncharacteristic of someone shooting at least 50 percent for four years running.

If history is any indication, Green (5-of-14) and Pachulia (1-of-6) are not going continue to miss at the rate they did in this game, the first this season in which the Warriors were without all three of their top scorers.

If history is any indication, the Warriors can’t be counted on to score 34 points on 27.3-percent shooting in the second half of a game.

“I loved how our guys battled,” Kerr said. “They really competed well and made some big plays. We just couldn’t get the ball to go down quite enough in the second half.”

That’s going to change, perhaps as soon as Saturday night in Phoenix, were the Suns are playing to lose.

So if Cook plays steady basketball, the Warriors will fall off and their fans won’t become a basket case while waiting for the three shooters. The Warriors surely believe that.

“He really showed up. I’ve been waiting on that Quinn,” Green said. “We needed that. It was great for him to come out and play like that. And most importantly, his shots were falling. Since he’s been playing (more often) he’s been playing well, but his shots weren’t really falling. But tonight, they fell for him.”

They won’t always fall at a rate of 77 percent. They won’t have to once his teammates drop in a few more of their own shots.

Casspi rolls ankle, leaves game vs Kings


Casspi rolls ankle, leaves game vs Kings

OAKLAND -- Omri Casspi sustained a sprained right ankle with 9:00 left in the second quarter of the Warriors-Kings game Friday night and did not return.

After dropping in a short hook shot with 9:04 left in the quarter, Casspi landed awkwardly, rolling his ankle and dropping to the floor clutching his lower leg. Down for a couple minutes, he eventually got up and limped into the locker room, accompanied by physical performance specialist Chelsea Lane.

Casspi played six minutes off the bench, producing 6 points, one assist and one rebound against his former team.

He joins Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Pat McCaw and Klay Thompson on the sideline.