Steve Kerr praised Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks on Thursday as a « typical Thibs team ».
Such strong words from the three-time NBA master coach had to mean so much more after the Knicks did a four-game western swing with one had opened a sharp 119-104 win against Kerrs Warriors in San Francisco. It was their third defensive win in a row – after a five defeat – to break their 8-8 record.
« It means we have a lot to do. We can’t feel good, we have to keep working « Said Thibodeau after the game. » It’s been a long season. You have to go step by step. There are some things that we did well. We have had some good wins. But we also had some games in which we could have played a lot better.
« So we have to be honest with ourselves and know that there is still a lot to be done and that we can improve and do a lot better. » This is our challenge. «
RJ Barrett had 18 of his 28 career highlights in the first half, while Julius Randle built on his all-star résumé with almost his second triple-double of the season (16 points, 17 rebounds and nine assists). </ "We just worry about ourselves … and in every game we feel like we should win the game or give ourselves the chance to win the game," said Randle after the Knicks down the road 5-4. “I think we have a good team and we play good team basketball.”
Backup center Nerlens Noel recorded four of the Knicks’ nine blocked shots, Mitchell Robinson scored all of his 18 points and after half-time Alec Burks contributed 11 points from the bench in 31 minutes in his first game since his ankle injury on December 27th.
Stephen Curry finished the game with 30 points but the two-time MVP made four turnovers and missed nine of 14 attempts from the 3- Points area. Golden State (8-7) played the last two quarters without Draymond Green after suffering his second technical foul shortly before the break.
« A man like Curry is impossible to protect with a man. I thought Elfrid [Payton] did as good a job as you can, ”Thibodeau said. « What you’re trying to do is get him to work as hard as possible for everything. He missed some shots that he probably normally does, and I think, as shorthanded, we loaded him pretty much from the point when where Draymond was kicked out. ”
Reggie Bullock (12 points) scored three 3-point points in the first four minutes and scored 23 points with Barrett in the first quarter when the Knicks shot 54.5 percent off the ground and took a 40-31 lead – their highest score for any quarter of the season.
Curry, the NBA’s third-top scorer (28.1 ppg) to enter the game, remained goalless for the first eight minutes until he eventually turned a three-point game at the end of the period.
Randle responded with a three-point game for the Knicks, and Curry missed his free throw after Payton (15 points) hacked him while hitting a 26 -Foot-foot drained from a distance, but Payton hit a 3 to score a 55-55 tie on the way to a 63-57 Knicks lead by two-quarters.
Robinson dipped twice, scoring the first nine of his 18 points in the second half in the third, as the Knicks extended their lead to 89-76 and went into the final quarter.
The first of two baseline dunks from rookie Obi Toppin and a 3-pointer from Immanuel Quickley from the first lap brought the Knicks with just under three minutes ahead of 16 in the fourth.
« I’ve said that from the start, I love our young people, especially with their attitude and approach, » said Thibodeau. “They come in every day with a lot of energy. Some days we make mistakes. But the next day there is a determination to correct mistakes and get better. If we do this every day, we will keep growing. «
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