For the season, the New York Knicks have been incrementally better at home than on the road. Confirmation of that fact is that the Knicks have been outscored by an average of 3.4 points per game when not in the friendly confines of Madison Square Garden, but have been downright almost mediocre when at home, only letting opponents outscore them by an average of 2.2 points per contest.
Therefore, it is no surprise that Friday night's home game against the Golden State Warriors was vastly more competitive than the Knicks' previous game, which they had been forced to play in Miami and which resulted in a 26-point defeat. Instead of allowing the Warriors to run roughshod over them and turning the game into a laugher, the Knicks performed up to their usual standards and refused to allow the Warriors to match the Heat's winning margin. Rather than losing by 26 points, the Knicks only lost by 23 points, continuing their superior home play.
Where the Knicks made the most concerted effort in making sure they kept the Warriors' lead from ballooning to ridiculous proportions was in their second half defensive performance. Over the final two quarters, the Knicks held the Warriors to an effective field goal percentage of 45.3 percent and 53 total points.
Sure, the game was already out of reach by the second half, with the Knicks playing their usual incompetent form of defense and allowing the Warriors to compile a 21-point halftime lead on the strength of an effective field goal percentage of 64.3 percent, but never let it be said that the Knicks do not know how to clamp down on their opponents' offense and prevent said opponent from winning by at least 30 points. Except for when it does happen as it has on three separate occasions this season; never mind that, though.
When it came down to it, the Warriors were really helpless in their attempt to score more than 119.1 points per 100 possessions on Friday night. If there is one thing that the Knicks are extremely capable of doing, it is losing by a smaller amount at home than during road contests, and the Warriors really found out what kind of staunch opponent they were up against while only having their 10th best offensive performance of the season out of 59 games played.
No team just walks into Madison Square Garden and has their best offensive performance of the season, except for when the team does exactly that; instead, they should lower their expectations and face facts, which are that they will most likely have to settle for having just one of their better offensive performances of the season against the Knicks.
Even Warriors point guard Stephen Curry, who turned in a triple-double with 31 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists, would admit that the Knicks are no pushover at home; after all, he did not even come close to recording a quadruple-double and had to settle for producing just 129 points per 100 possessions, which was only his 17th best offensive rating this season out of 56 contests.
In losing their fifth straight game, the Knicks issued a statement to the rest of the NBA. While an opponent might beat them handily in Madison Square Garden, the Knicks will make that opponent wish the game had been on the road so that the comfortable victory would have been even easier to garner.