Steve Kerr praised Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks as a “typical Thibs team” on Thursday, saying they were “defending like crazy” as they “built a foundation” to finally re-emerge as a winning club.
Such strong words from the three-time coach of the NBA Championship should have meant much more after the Knicks opened the western swing of four games with a sharp victory over Warriors at Kerr in San Francisco with 119-104. This was their third consecutive strong victory in defense – after losing five games – even to their record at 8-8.
“It simply came to our notice then. We can’t feel good, we have to keep working, “said Thibodeau after the match. “The season is long. You have to go step by step. There are some things we have done well. We had some good victories. But we also had some games where we could play much better.
“So we have to be honest with ourselves and know that there is a lot of work to be done and we are able to improve and do much better. This is our challenge. “
RJ Barrett scored 18 of his highest 28 points in the first half, while Julius Randle continued to build his All Star lead with almost his second triple-double of the season (16 points, 17 rebounds and nine assists).
“We just worry about ourselves … and get into every game, feeling like we have to win the game or give ourselves a chance to win the game,” Randall said after the Knicks improved to 5-4 on the road. “I think we have a good team and we play good team basketball.”
Reserve center Nerlens Noel recorded four of Knicks’ nine blocked shots, Mitchell Robinson scored all 18 points after halftime, and Alec Burks contributed 11 points in 31 minutes off the bench in his first game after suffering a sprained ankle on December 27.
Stephen Curry finished with 30 points per game, but the two-time MVP made four turns and missed nine of 14 attempts over a 3-point range. Golden State (8-7) played the last two quarters without Draymond Green, after winning their second technical foul just before the intermission.
“A man like Curry is impossible to keep with one man. I thought of Elfried [Payton] do the best job you can, ”Thibodeau said. “What you’re trying to do is make it work as much as possible for everything. He missed a few shots, which he probably usually does, and I think when we transcribed, we put a lot of strain on him from the moment Draymond was thrown. “
Reggie Bullock (12 points) scored three three-pointers in the first four minutes and combined with Barrett for 23 points in the first quarter as the Knicks shot 54.5 percent of the floor and grabbed a 40-31 lead – their highest score for each quarter. this season.
Curry, the third NBA goal scorer (28.1 ppg) to enter the game, was left without a score in the first eight minutes, until he finally scored three points at the end of the period.
Randall responded with a three-point game for the Knicks, and Curry missed his free throw after Peyton (15 points) hacked it until he drained 26 feet beyond the arc. But Peyton scored 3 to take a 55-55 draw on his way to a 63-57 lead to the Knicks in two quarters.
Robinson scored twice and scored the first nine of his 18 points in the second half in the third as the Knicks extended their lead to 89-76, entering the final quarter.
The first of two base dives by rookie Obi Topin and first-round teammate Immanuel Quickley put the Knicks ahead with 16 just three minutes after the fourth.
“I say this from the beginning, I love our young boys, especially with their attitude and approach,” said Thibodeau. “Every day they come in with a lot of energy. Some days we make mistakes. But the next day there is a determination to correct the mistakes and improve. If we do this every day, we will continue to grow. “