When Knicks head coach Mike Woodson decided to dust off Carmelo Anthony after a 3 1/2 game layoff due to a mysterious right knee injury, he might’ve had visions of a heroic return to the lineup. Unfortunately for Woodson and Co., the Knicks were humbled by the Warriors, 92-63, to kick off what will be a crucial five-game West Coast swing.
Anthony could muster only 14 points on 4-of-15 shooting, and never looked comfortable. His shot was off, and he was outmatched in the post by former Knicks power forward David Lee, who tallied 21 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
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Stephen Curry notched 26 points, including six 3-pointers. He didn’t net 54 points as he did in the last meeting, but he didn’t have to as he got help from backcourt mate Klay Thompson and his 23 points.
The Knicks (38-23) were never really in the ball game, as they only had two starters reach double figures in scoring, only led once (1-0 to start the game) and had their season lows in points scored and shooting percentage.
What we learned ...
1. Live by the 3, die by the 3
The Knicks have been enthralled with the long-range shot all season— and it helped spur them to a quick 18-5 start to the season— but Monday night wasn’t their best showing as they shot a collective 18.5 percent. The terrible shooting included a 2-of-12 display from behind the arc in the first half. Conversely, the Warriors scorched the nets with 55 percent shooting from 3-point land, led by Curry’s six made 3-pointers.
2. Temper, temper
The Knicks have a habit of letting their emotions get the best of them any time adversity hit, and Monday night wasn’t any different as the Knicks’ frustration crested with a 64-40 deficit and 6:51 remaining in the third quarter. J.R. Smith was given a flagrant-two foul on rookie forward Harrison Barnes that called for an immediate ejection. It wasn’t the first time Smith was tossed for issuing an unnecessarily rough foul out of frustration, as he was also ejected in Indiana earlier this season. The largest lead was a 74-47 Warriors advantage with 2:48 remaining in the third quarter. Perhaps New York would’ve been better served trying to win the game instead of trying to bully a team that wasn’t engaging in the silly fouls.
3. Diamond in the rough
About the only bright spot for the Knicks was the play of Chris Copeland. The 28-year-old rookie has been buried on the bench— and in Woodson’s doghouse— for months, but almost out of necessity was Copeland allowed to do what he does best, and that’s score. Copeland finished with 15 points, and most of that came in the first 2 1/2 quarters when the game wasn’t a total disaster yet, as the Knicks cut the deficit to as low as 15 midway through the third stanza. Copeland may have actually given Woodson a reason to play him more, especially with Amar’e Stoudemire out for the regular season, and his replacement, Kenyon Martin, not offering anything on the offensive end.
Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.