Played Hard & Hung In. Golden State 111 NY 101

The defending champion Golden State Warriors threatened to blow the Knicks off the court multiple times during the game, but the Knicks fought Hard — playing a good defense — and hung in there until the end.

Had NY shot better, they would have had a chance to win this game in San Francisco — where Golden State is now 7-1  on the season. But Immanuel Quickley, Jalen Brunson, and Obi Toppin shot a combined 2-23, and RJ Barrett wasn’t much better at 6-19.

“They’re the defending champions, they’re 7-1 at home,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “We knew we’d get their best shot. The speed of the game to start — you can’t relax — you can defend the initial option well, and then there’s a 2nd and 3rd, they don’t stop moving. You have to keep moving with them. It requires a 2nd, 3rd, 4th effort — you have to challenge shots and finish with your rebounding.”

“I thought we attacked the basket,” added Thibs. “In the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters we played the way we needed to play in the 1st quarter, but we gave them such a cushion we didn’t give ourselves a chance.”

NY drops to 8-8; Golden State improves to 7-9.


1. Mitch Who? Sims Beasts Again

Two things are vivid in the mind after watching this game — and they are intertwined: 1) the way Jericho Sims BEASTED again on Defense and under the offensive boards, and 2) how the Knicks held steady and played Hard, Good defense to hang with Golden State throughout the game — Jericho Sims being a key part of much of that.

Sims is constantly high-motor active — denying his man the ball, playing great man-to-man defense, getting back to help out and defend underneath — blocking shots, and ripping down rebounds.

He is playing so well you wonder if Mitchell Robinson — still out with a bruised knee — could play better than this.

2. Knicks Never Gave Up

Golden State was blowing the Knicks off the court in the 1st quarter into 2nd quarter — doing their usual thing of a) great defense, b) great ball movement, c) hitting shots from all over the place. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green were playing their championship-level basketball.

“Steph never stops moving. And neither does Klay,” said Thibodeau afterwards. “Draymond has great impact on the game because he plays with a lot of force and pace. He sprints into every screen. His dribble hand offs are with speed. It’s not only pushing the pace, he creates movement and action for them — it requires you to do more than one thing.”

It looked like it was going to be another long night.

But then .. down by 21 points with 5 minutes left in the 2nd, the Knicks showed pride. And defense. Jalen Brunson hit a 3; Julius Randle hit back-to-back 3’s — and the Knick Defense started to shut down the Golden State attack. When Randle drove for a bucket and one just before the half, it put the Knicks behind by only 11.

Golden State regrouped at the half and put the pressure on again at the start of the 3rd — going up by 20 points.

But again the Knicks refused to be blown out — and climbed right back in — down by 13 at the end of 3 quarters.

“When we challenged shots correctly, they missed. And when we applied the appropriate ball pressure, they turned it over as well,” said Thibs. “So it’s being ready at the start. And they’re not easy to guard. The challenge is there.”

In the 4th quarter, NY pulled to within 10 points multiple times — but could not break through and get closer. The Knicks kept missing key shots — and the Warriors up-ed their lead back to 16 points before the Knicks closed it back to 111-101 for the final score.

3. Randle Played Well

Julius Randle was the best player on the Knicks all night besides Sims — Randle had 20 pts on 7-15 shooting (3-7 from 3), 7 rebounds, 2 assists in 30 minutes.

Sims finished with 10 pts on 4-7 shooting (2-2 in free throws — yes he hits his free throws), and 10 rebounds in 27 minutes.

Isaiah Hartenstein played well when he was in — he started and played 17 minutes; scoring 8 pts on 3-4 shooting.

4. Reddish Good; Injured Ankle

Cam Reddish played well — 11 pts on 3-8 shooting (1-4 from 3; 4-4 in free throws) in 25 minutes before leaving the game with a sprained ankle in the 2nd half.

5. RJ Played 40 Minutes

RJ Barrett led the team in minutes played with 40 — he was 6-19 from the floor (1-6 from 3). The one 3 he hit broke a string of 19 consecutive 3-pt misses. This after starting the season in a horrible 3-pt shooting funk, then breaking out of it.

One thing about RJ is that with his shot not falling — he continues to attack the basket,  drawing fouls, and in this game went 5-5 from the free throw line. He is now shooting .756 from the line — still a career high.

RJ’s recent shooting slump, while playing sick, has dropped his 2-pt field goal percentage to .474 (down from 52%) — still a career high — and his 3-pt percentage is down to .250.

6. Rose Good

Derrick Rose also played well in his 14 minutes (9 pts on 3-7 shooting).

The Boxscore


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