After one of the greatest individual performance in the history of Madison Square Garden failed them 13 days earlier, the Golden State Warriors turned to a historic team defensive effort Friday night on the home court.
Holding an opponent to 63 points for the first time in nearly 60 years, the Warriors extracted some big-time revenge on the New York Knicks, spoiling the return of Carmelo Anthony in a 92-63 win.
"That's a heck of a defensive night," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "I don't know how many teams in history have nights like that."
Less than two weeks after Stephen Curry's 54 points weren't enough to produce a Warriors victory in New York, Golden State held the Knicks to that same total through three full quarters, building a 21-point advantage that eventually became its largest margin of victory this season.
The 63 points surrendered were the fewest by a Warriors team since the Philadelphia Warriors held the Milwaukee Hawks to that same number on Dec. 28, 1953. It also was the fewest given up by the Warriors since the Knicks scored only 78 on their last visit to Oakland, in the third game of the 2011-12 season.
"It didn't matter how we got it. We just needed a win," said Curry, who contributed six 3-pointers and a game-high 26 points Monday. "I mean, you lose two games in a row against teams (the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks) that we matched up well against and we didn't get it done. So this win was important for us."
Anthony, who sat out New York's previous three games with a sore right knee, was a nonfactor in the defeat despite recording a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double. But if there were a silver lining, it was that Knicks coach Mike Woodson was able to dictate his star's minutes without having to worry about their impact on a win or loss. Anthony played just 33 1/2 minutes.
A painful 33 1/2 minutes, Anthony admitted afterward.
"Really sore," he reported of his right knee, which got 45 minutes of treatment after the game. "It was just nagging, agitating. I was just trying to get through it, see what I can do and what I cannot do. See how it feels (Tuesday). See how it feels (Wednesday)."
The Knicks have a day of rest Tuesday before making the second stop on an eight-day, five-game trip Wednesday in Denver. Anthony said he expects to give it another go in his first game at the Pepsi Center since he was traded from the Nuggets to the Knicks in February 2011.
"At this point, I plan to play," he said. "(This was) one of those games where I was trying to get the rust out."
In snapping a two-game losing streak and winning for a third time in five outings on their current seven-game homestand, the Warriors held the Knicks to an NBA season-low 27.4 percent shooting. Golden State got 20-plus-point scoring from both inside (David Lee) and outside (Curry and Klay Thompson) en route to the surprisingly easy win.
The Warriors led by as many as 17 points in the first half, then gave their fans a reason to head home early with an 11-0 burst early in the third period. Thompson contributed four of his 23 points to the flurry that produced a 67-40 advantage.
Lee, returning from a one-game absence caused by a bruised knee, nearly recorded a triple-double against his ex-mates, finishing with 21 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Andrew Bogut (11) and Festus Ezeli (10) also had double-figure rebound games as Golden State enjoyed a 59-42 advantage on the boards.
"This is the way we expect to win every night," Curry said. "Not necessarily by 20-plus (points), but just playing sound basketball. Now we need to get a little more consistent."
Reserve Chris Copeland had a team-high 15 points for the Knicks, who earlier in the day learned that star forward Amar'e Stoudemire had undergone surgery on his right knee.
The procedure, called a debridement, removed damaged tissue. The expected recovery time, according to the Knicks, is six weeks.
The Knicks also played the final 18 1/2 minutes without standout sixth man J.R. Smith, who received a Flagrant 2 foul and automatic ejection for a two-hand overhand chop across the body of Harrison Barnes on a shot attempt.
"I don't think he was trying to hurt the kid," Woodson said. "Obviously they (the referees) saw something different."
The Knicks scored only nine points in the fourth quarter after having totaled just 12 in the second.
"It takes a combination of great defense and at times bad offense," Jackson said. "I wish we could take credit, but it's a combination."
NOTES: The Warriors' largest margin of victory this season had been 22 in a 115-93 win at Atlanta on Dec. 15. Their previous season low for points allowed was 83, set three times, most recently last week in a home win over Sacramento. ... The Knicks' previous low point total of the year had been 76 against Indiana on Jan. 10. They had a larger margin of defeat (34 points) the last time they faced the Pacers on Feb. 20. ... Woodson wasn't making any promises on Stoudemire's possible return to the club for the playoffs, noting before the game, "I'm hoping we're going to get him back." ... Extrapolating out, six weeks from Monday's procedure would be April 22, by which point most playoff teams would be a game or two into their first-round series. ... When Stoudemire had a similar procedure on his left knee in October, he missed eight weeks, during which the team went 21-9. Eight weeks from Monday would be May 6, which is projected to be well Round 2 of the postseason. ... Before Monday, Lee had been the ultimate all-or-nothing performer against the Knicks, for whom he played his first five NBA seasons. In four Warriors-Knicks matchups since moving west in a sign-and-trade in 2010, Lee missed two with injuries and averaged 20.5 points on 60.0 percent shooting in the other two. ... The Knicks' traveling party included injured Rasheed Wallace, who hasn't played since Dec. 13 because of a broken foot. "He's on the trip for moral support," Woodson said, adding, "We're going to hopefully get him back soon." ... Jackson had one eye on the Knicks and the other on his computer before Monday's game, the latter allowing him to monitor his son Mark Jr.'s team, Manhattan College, in its conference-tournament championship game. Jackson called his son before the game, reminding him, "The bottom line is to stay ready and enjoy it. It goes fast. Same message: I love him. That's not going to change, (NCAA) Tournament or no Tournament." Iona beat Manhattan 60-57 to claim the MAAC title and an automatic NCAA bid.