Warriors’ offensive struggles continue on Steph’s record-breaking night, but triumph over Knicks anyway

NEW YORK CITY — On the night Steph Curry broke the all-time 3-point record, it was the shots that didn’t go in that defined the Golden State Warriors’ 105-96 win over the New York Knicks Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

Curry drained the record-breaking 3-pointer after only 4:27 had expired from the clock. He only widened his grip on his new spot atop the all-time leaderboard by three the rest of the way, though. The rest of the Warriors (23-5) didn’t find much more success but clamped down on defense for second straight game to steal another win.

“Now we can focus on continuing to get better. I thought tonight was a huge step in the right direction for us,” Draymond Green said afterward. He grabbed 11 rebounds, assisted on seven baskets, blocked four shots and scored eight points, even after the team was  unexpectedly forced to spend the night in Indianapolis and didn’t get to New York until five hours before tipoff.

“Coming out and winning this game after landing today, getting to the hotel at 2 o’clock and playing last night,” Green said, “with the emotion in that moment, and being able to lock back in and pick back up right where we left off … I think that was a big step for this team.”

Curry has been in a rut ever since coming with striking distance of the 3-point record, but the entire Warriors offense has been stagnant for a increasingly long stretch of games, too. Before the game, coach Steve Kerr suggested Curry and the rest of the Warriors were “due” for an offensive breakthrough, but that didn’t come Tuesday night.

READ MORE: History made: Steph Curry passes Ray Allen to claim NBA 3-point record

Curry’s team-leading 22 points came on 8-of-19 (42.1%) shooting from the field and 5-of-14 (35.7%) from 3, the sixth time in the past eight games he has been held at that mark or below from behind the arc.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that the Warriors were also held below their season scoring average (112.1) for the sixth time in their past eight games, as well, despite facing a Knicks defense that ranks in the bottom third of the NBA.

Neither team shot better than 40.5% from the field in a first half that ended in a 48-47 stalemate, and the second half didn’t get off to a much better start. But it proved to be only a continuation of a first-half cold spell and not a sign of things to come.

Nobody on either team made a shot from the field for the first 3 minutes, 40 seconds of the second half, until Kevon Looney converted a cross-court pass from Jordan Poole. That begun a second half that featured 58 Golden State points on 50% shooting and nine of their 15 total 3s.

The Warriors pulled away during a third quarter in which they limited the Knicks to 16 points. New York went more than 8 minutes of game time without making a field goal between the second and third quarters — 15 straight misses from the field.

During that span, the Warriors were able to erase an eight-point deficit and pull even at 49. They rarely trailed after that point.

In a defensive duel, then, it should come as no surprise that Jonathan Kuminga, Gary Payton II and Juan Toscano-Anderson all spent at least 10 minutes on the court. Kuminga and Payton teamed up to trap and rob Julius Randle during the Knicks’ third-quarter dryspell.

Jordan Poole was able to impact the game despite converting only three of his 11 attempts from the field and none from beyond the arc. He reached the foul line 13 times and sank them all, finishing second to Curry with 19 points.

One Warrior who was able to shake his cold snap was Nemanja Bjelica. The big man who normally sports a sharp shot had only made 26.1% of his attempts from distance since he recorded back-to-back games of double-figure scoring three weeks ago.

Bjelica didn’t miss Tuesday night. In 17 minutes, he made all four of his 3-point attempts and added another bucket on a drive to the rim to finish with 14 points, trailing Andrew Wiggins’ 18 for third on the team.

His four 3-pointers were among the 82 taken between both teams Tuesday night. That, Kerr said, was only fitting in the game Curry claimed the long-distance record. The Warriors made 15 of their 40 attempts (37.5%), while the Knicks connected on 16 of 42 (38.1%).

“He’s changed the way … the way the entire league feels about the shot,” Kerr said. “On a night when he broke the record, the sum of both teams’ 3-point attempts was kind of a testament to Steph’s impact on the league, too.”

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