Warriors point guard Stephen Curry picked up right where he left off from his career-high 11-for-13 performance from 3-point range at the Garden on Feb. 27. In the first half, he was 5-for-6 from downtown, scoring a game-high 17 points. On the flip side, Knicks' star Carmelo Anthony, who returned from a three-game injury absence, was only 2-for-8 from the field (for seven points). He did, however, have seven rebounds (three offensive).
The Knicks need to adjust to the Warriors' speed in transition, as well as fight through screens better and trap harder. That means that their perimeter rotations need to be on point. A lot of defensive work ahead.
Here are four main observations from the first half:
1. Some solid trapping defense. While Curry went off, the Knicks did have two great traps to build on: one at the end of the first quarter to prevent the Warriors from scoring on their last possession; and then in the second period, when Jason Kidd and J.R. Smith ran at Jarrett Jack, which led to a steal and a Smith fast-break layup.
2. Raymond Felton's aggressiveness. Earlier on, Felton attacked very well off pick-and-rolls, and he went right at Curry. One time, Curry was called for a foul on a Felton drive. The Knicks point guard's ability to get into the paint led to a Tyson Chandler dunk and an Iman Shumpert 3-pointer in the first quarter. In the first half, Felton finished with nine points, three assists, four rebounds and one steal.
3. Kenyon Martin's play-making. Martin moves well defensively against pick-and-rolls, and he has a knack for predicting the pass. One time, Felton had the ball in the baseline corner, and looked to be stuck, so Martin made a hard cut to the middle of the lane and Felton found him for a short banking shot. In addition, Martin had two rebounds and a steal in eight minutes off the bench.
4. Steve Novak's off. Two nights after shooting 5-for-10 from downtown, the sharpshooter was 0-for-3 in the first half. The Knicks were only 2-for-12, while the Warriors were 8-for-12. That was the main difference in the first half.
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