When Raymond Felton drives the lane, slips while trying to stop and banks in a shot while sitting on his rear near the free-throw line, it’s probably a sign that it’s going to be his night. Such was the case Friday at Oracle Arena as Felton scored a career-high 35 points to lead the Knicks to a 125-119 win over the Warriors.
Golden State’s first home sellout of the season also was its first home loss after starting the season 5-0 at Oracle. The Warriors are now 7-5 overall and 1-3 without David Lee, the former Knick who has been sidelined with an infection after getting a piece of a Wilson Chandler tooth embedded in his arm after a collision in their first meeting last week.
Without Lee, the Warriors were outrebounded again. But the real story of the game was the Knicks’ shooting, led by Felton, who hit 13 of 17 shots and dished out 11 assists. As a team, the Knicks shot 44-of-77 (57 percent) and held a 42-33 edge in rebounds, including 12 on the offensive end.
Like most Warriors games this season, except for those two stinkers to close out the five-game road trip, it’s easy to find both good and bad from Friday night’s game. We’ll start with the good.
— Monta Ellis
The league’s second-leading scorer entering the game, Ellis scored 40 points (his sixth career 40-point game) and carried the Warriors’ offense much of the first half. Ellis did most of his damage from the perimeter, hitting four 3-pointers and knocking down several mid-range jumpers. Ellis continues to expand his offensive game, showing he can score even when the middle of the lane is shut down. Which is exactly what he did while providing the highlight of the night with a fierce one-handed dunk over former teammate and shot-blocking extraordinaire Ronny Turiaf. Ellis also added five assists and three steals.
— Reggie Williams and the comeback
Down by 18 midway through the third quarter, the Warriors caught fire from 3-point range and capitalized on some sloppy Knick ball-handling to make it 104-102 with 5:35 left in the game. Williams, 4-of-5 from long range, scored 16 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and provided a huge lift when Ellis came back to earth in the second half on a night the Warriors had absolutely no inside scoring threat. The Warriors were unable to complete the comeback, but that will be covered later.
— Andris Biedrins
He finished with only eight points and eight rebounds in 30 minutes, but was 4-for-5 from the floor, opening the game with a nice hook shot. The key for Biedrins was his willingness to take — and make — a variety of shots 8-10 feet away from the basket. As promised before the season, Biedrins is showing a more versatile offensive game. Now if he could just spend less time in foul trouble and more time on the court.
— Dorell Wright’s shot selection
After hitting a barrage of 3-pointers to open the season, Wright got a little trigger happy from long range and was shooting 3s every chance he got. A couple different times on Friday, Wright showed a pump-fake from beyond the arc, got his defender in the air and drove past for an easier, higher-percentage shot. He finished with 16 points on 8-of-15 shooting.
Those positives, however, could not outweight the negatives.
— Steph Curry’s defense
Curry opened the game trying to defend Felton, but couldn’t stay in front of him, giving up open jumpers or easy looks for teammates. The Warriors were forced to try some zone to slow Felton and help on the glass and eventually switched to Ellis guarding Felton. Late in the game, when the Warriors had fought back, Curry was supposed to be on Danillo Gallinari. But Curry constantly cheated off Gallinari, trying to play help defense and come up with steals. The 6-10 sharpshooter made back-to-back wide open 3s after the Warriors closed within two and tallied 11 of his 23 in the last 4:26 of the game. Curry was trying to help against Felton’s drives, but it just wasn’t wise to leave Gallinari alone outside the 3-point line. Curry filled the stat sheet, putting up 29 points, eight assists and five rebounds. But he also had four turnovers and some bad misses on good looks, finishing 9-of-21 shooting. Despite the final numbers, it wasn’t a good night for Curry.
The Warriors were outrebounded for the sixth time in 12 games this season, giving up 12 offensive rebounds on the Knicks’ 33 missed shots. Even when the Warriors did get defensive stops down the stretch, it seemed the Knicks got second chances and made the most of them. Dan Gadzuric, Vladimir Radmanovic and Jeff Adrien combined for six rebounds in 44 minutes. With Lee and Brandan Wright both out with injuries, the other front-line players have to step up. No one did that, giving Friday’s loss a certain 2009-10 feeling as the Warriors looked defensive on the glass with several big men watching from the bench.
— Giving one away at home
The Warriors weren’t going to go 41-0 at home, but their first loss shouldn’t have been against a team in the middle of a road trip after three days off. Especially not a team the Warriors already beat on their home floor. This is one they let get away, even without Lee playing.