New York Knicks Golden State Warriors
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Despite some uncharacteristically sloppy play early, the Golden State Warriors ultimately overwhelmed the shorthanded New York Knicks.

All game it felt like that typical Warriors run to completely demoralize their opponent was coming. The huge run that the Warriors are known for never truly came. This game felt more like the Knicks were in a boat that was taking on water and despite their best efforts, they couldn’t plug the leak.

After taking a 31-21 lead into the second quarter, and actually outplaying the defending champions, the Warriors began to turn the tide. David West provided some much needed scoring off of the bench to keep things close. Golden State needed someone to provide a spark early, as Stephen Curry struggled to get it going. He started off the game shooting 1-for-10, but he would find his stroke. He finished the game with 32 points on 9-for-19 shooting and 8-for-15 from deep.

After holding the Warriors to 21 points in the first quarter, it was all downhill from there. Golden State would take control in the second and third quarters, scoring 37 points in each period. They took control of the game in the third quarter despite, looking sloppy and out of sorts for a majority of this game.

The Knicks offense wasn’t the problem. They shot over 50 percent from the floor and over 40 percent from three. They hung tough without their leading scorer, Kristaps Porzingis and defensive bench presence, Kyle O’Quinn.

Defense: Optional

Of course, the Warriors are the best offensive team in the league so this game was always going to be a tall task. With the news that Porzingis and O’Quinn would be sidelined, that task became even more daunting.

Golden State took advantage of the Knicks missing their All-Star forward and league-leader in blocks, Kristaps Porzingis. The middle of the floor was wide open without a true rim protector on the floor. The Knicks failed to be aware of cutters and subsequently, the Warriors found themselves getting easy buckets inside.

With time winding down in the first half and a chance to feel good about themselves, the Knicks allowed Kevon Looney to find the soft interior of the Knicks defense and take the wind out of the Knicks’ sails after a very positive first half. Ok, we’re done with the nautical references.

But this play starts off poorly with Jarrett Jack in a mismatch with Kevin Durant. Once Durant catches, Jack cedes baseline and allows KD a free path to the basket. Enes Kanter slides into help position, but three Knicks remain preoccupied with shooters, understandably so. Looney makes an unabated cut to the hoop and the Knicks instantly lose any semblance of momentum.

In this situation, Michael Beasley needs to recognize that allowing an outside shot to Draymond Green may be the Knicks best option and be prepared to sag off and help out the glaring mismatch on the wing. A kickout to Green is preferable to a Durant layup, Looney cut to the hoop, or open jumpers from Curry or Klay Thompson.

The second-unit was more of the same as Golden State ran the offense through aforementioned West without a strong defensive presence to oppose him. O’Quinn would have been the matchup for West, but instead, it was Willy Hernangomez.

He did some nice things on offense, although he did get victimized by a few Warriors double teams in the post. The 23-year old Spaniard needs to improve his production on the defensive end mightily if he wants to start seeing more minutes.

On this wing catch from Durant, Hernangomez becomes so preoccupied with helping out Lance Thomas that he loses sight of his man and Looney slides in for the easiest two points he’ll score in his life.

Short Aside: Durant was ejected for receiving two technicals tonight after the game was already in hand for the Warriors, but his passing tonight was fantastic. He racked up a career-high 14 assists and seemingly made the right decision every time he touched the ball. As a team, the Warriors eclipsed 40 assists for the second time this season.

Kanter does so much for the Knicks in terms of cleaning the glass and providing low post offense, but his defense on screens, particularly in the pick and roll, is concerning. In the play below, he allows Curry to come off of a Zaza Pachulia screen with little to no resistance, and Curry is free to do as he pleases. He slings a pass to Pachulia for the easy bucket. Letting Curry go downhill like that is going to end poorly most of the time.

This play is just a complete lack of awareness and a dreadful breakdown in communication. The Knicks have numbers back, but they panic as Draymond advances the ball to Thompson. Clearly, you have to run their shooters off of the three-point line, especially in transition. That’s often times where they are the most dangerous. But in this scenario, three guys get caught ball-watching as Andre Iguodala waltzes into the lane for the easy deuce. Lance Thomas lets Iggy get behind him, and Frank Ntilikina recognizes this, but by the time he can help it’s too late.

On to the Next

The Knicks have Wednesday off before they go to play a back-to-back against the Nuggets and Suns. It’s no secret that the Knicks defense is going through a rough patch, but there’s no reason they can’t clean it up in these next two games. Hopefully, Porzingis and O’Quinn will return to the lineup and shore up that soft interior that the Warriors victimized all night long.

Losing to the defending champs and one of the greatest teams in NBA history is nothing to hang your head about. The key is learning from this game and bouncing back. The Knicks move to 2-3 on their seven-game road trip. Two wins on Thursday and Friday would be nice, one win would be reassuring, but coming home empty could be disastrous.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.