Julius Randle
AP Photo/Ben Margot

The New York Knicks can rest easy after securing a desperately needed win against the equally unfortunate Golden State Warriors.

Danny Small

  • New York Knicks 124 (5-20)
  • Golden State Warriors 122 (5-21)
  • NBA, Final, Box Score
  • Chase Center, San Francisco, CA

The New York Knicks opened up a 22-point lead on the hapless Golden State Warriors and Mike Miller was poised to cruise to the first victory of his NBA coaching career. However, the Knicks made things interesting with a turnover-filled third quarter and the Warriors slowly crept back into the game.

New York nearly gave away this win with some head-scratching plays down the stretch. RJ Barrett was right in the middle of many of the mistakes down the stretch. An inexplicable foul on a three-pointer and a missed free throw paved the way for the Warriors to send the game to overtime.

The rookie made a few bonehead plays, but he was instrumental in the win, scoring 22 points and scooping up 10 boards. He didn’t back down from any challenge, even blocking Marquese Chriss at the rim. Chriss would later return the favor but seeing Barrett’s confidence to attack the rim on both ends was encouraging.

With all this said, Barrett had some strong moments and he needs to experience these types of games to truly develop into a star. Furthermore, this win snaps a 10-game losing streak for a team that was desperate for something to hang their hat on.

But the star of the night for the Knicks was undoubtedly Marcus Morris Sr. The veteran—and potential trade chip—put up 36 points on 10-for-18 shooting. Better yet, he was 11-for-12 from the free-throw line which has been a weakness of the Knicks all season. Morris was the go-to guy down the stretch and he came up with some clutch buckets.

Barrett, Morris, and Julius Randle all notched double-doubles as the Knicks looked like the rough-and-tumble team they sold themselves as prior to the season.

The only problem is that this win came against the worst team in the Western Conference. Don’t be fooled by the name brand, the Warriors are not the same team this year. They are playing without Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson for the first time in forever. That’s a team that’s going through serious growing pains, but for the Bay Area fans, the three championships wi dull the pain a little bit.

With all that said, a win is a win and the Knicks have every right to feel good about this win. In a sense, they killed two birds with one stone. They snap the losing streak and have an opportunity to figure out how to win close games. Sure, there was some serious discombobulation down the stretch, but again, a win is a win.

It’s also worth noting that winning the second game of a road-road back-to-back is no joke, even if the Warriors are taking a “gap year.”

It’s All Gravy Now

As sad as it looks in writing, snagging one from this four-game road trip feels like a major step forward for the Knicks. Stealing a second!? It still seems unlikely with the Sacramento Kings and the Denver Nuggets waiting patiently.

The Kings started slow, but they’re riding a three-game winning streak and are firmly in the Western Conference playoff hunt. Marvin Bagley III is back from injury and played 23 minutes off the bench on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, De’Aaron Fox is still nursing a left ankle sprain. Although the Kings have plenty of firepower with Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic, catching them without Fox gives the Knicks’ uncertain point guard situation a little breathing room.

Dennis Smith Jr. was out with an illness on Wednesday and Frank Ntilikina had his worst game of the season against the Warriors. Ironically enough, the best game of his sophomore season came against Golden State. Expect to see more of Elfrid Payton going forward.

After Sacramento, the powerhouse Nuggets await. Nikola Jokic isn’t operating at full speed quite yet, but the Nuggets are still a dynamite team. Denver is currently ranked second in defensive rating, due in large part to their activity at the point of attack.

The Knicks have struggled to deal with active ball pressure. That was on full display in the second half against Golden State and the duo of Gary Harris and Will Barton could spell trouble for the Knicks.

And of course, is always the case with Denver teams, it’s never easy to play in the Mile High City. But again, stealing a win against the Kings or Nuggets would be a major step forward.

Four-Game Road Trip Log

  •  Portland—87-115 Loss
  •  Golden State—124-122 Win
  •  Sacramento—Friday, Dec. 13, 10 p.m. ET
  •  Denver—Sunday, Dec. 15, 8 p.m. ET

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