The New York Knicks shoot for a hat trick when they go for a third road victory in four days as they visit one of the league’s top home teams, the Golden State Warriors, on Friday night at San Francisco.
The Knicks took advantage of the absence of reigning MVP Nikola Jokic for a 106-103 road victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday. The win completed a two-night sweep that began with a 118-111 triumph over the host Utah Jazz on Tuesday.
A fourth-quarter comeback that produced the club’s first win in Denver since 2006 was accomplished with the unusual combination of a Julius Randle-Obi Toppin frontcourt to complement a three-guard look.
It worked against the Jokic-less Nuggets. Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau, still expected to be missing starting big man Mitchell Robinson, indicated he could go back to the look again against the Warriors, who demoted James Wiseman to the G League this week and left the team with Kevon Looney and an assortment of small-ball options.
“I like it,” Thibodeau said of his center-less lineup. “There’s been ups and downs with it, but that’s probably more our team. We’ll continue to get a look at it.”
Randle and Toppin combined for 41 points — Randle getting 34 of them — against the Nuggets, who had entered the game unbeaten at home.
The Warriors have won five straight and six of seven at home, a stark contrast to their 0-8 record on the road. Their two results in the past four days have mirrored their early season: A 132-95 shellacking of the San Antonio Spurs at home on Monday, followed by a 130-119 road loss Wednesday to the Phoenix Suns, who were missing two starters.
After Stephen Curry’s 50 points were not enough to end the season-long road skid, Golden State coach Steve Kerr pointed his finger at himself following Wednesday’s defeat.
“That’s what being a coach is about,” Kerr said. “It’s not just about drawing up a play. It’s about really getting to know your players, building relationships with them, trying to give them a vision that they can collectively shoot for. Clearly, I have failed at that to this point this year.
“So I have to do a better job, and I’ve gotta reach these guys, and we’ve gotta pull them together, and that’s what we’re gonna do.”
Curry often has been at or near his best when up against the Knicks. He had 35 points in a home loss to New York in February, the fifth time in the last seven home meetings that he’s gone for 30 or more points.
When last at home, the Warriors were hitting 23 of their 45 3-point attempts against the Spurs. Golden State has connected at a 40.1-percent clip from long range at home this season.
The Knicks, meanwhile, watched R.J. Barrett’s slump from 3-point range continue in an 0-for-9 outing at Denver. New York shot 8-for-34 from deep (23.5 percent), leaving it at 31.1 percent on the road for the season.
Barrett has missed his last 17 3-point attempts over the last four games, dating back to a second-quarter long-range basket against the Detroit Pistons last Friday.
–Field Level Media