The New York Knicks have failed to take advantage of a slump by the team they’re chasing in the Eastern Conference playoff race, and inconsistent performances on a Western road trip have hardly helped.
The Knicks will try to bounce back from a lopsided defeat for the second time on their trek Sunday night against the potentially short-handed Golden State Warriors.
New York (30-43) remains ninth in the East and 1 1/2 games behind Atlanta despite the Hawks’ six-game skid. The Knicks have dropped three of four since an eight-game win streak and have been blown out twice on their five-game trip that ends Monday against Utah.
They were beaten 127-96 by the Los Angeles Lakers in Tuesday’s opener but claimed a 107-99 win over Sacramento the next night. New York then suffered a 112-88 defeat to Phoenix on Friday.
The smaller Suns posted a 56-37 rebounding advantage and a 46-24 edge in points in the paint.
"They beat us in all aspects tonight. We weren’t ready for them. We weren’t prepared for them. They ran us out of the gym," said Carmelo Anthony, who had a team-best 21 points and seven rebounds. "Overall as a unit, we didn’t fight tonight. We didn’t have it, and they had it in all aspects of the game.
"As of late, we’ve been playing in spurts. We’re waiting until we dig ourselves a hole to fight back. … We’ve still got games to play. There ain’t no need to hold our heads down now."
New York will try to repeat its recent pattern by rebounding with a better effort Sunday against the Warriors, who are hoping to have former Knicks forward David Lee available. Lee was forced to sit out Friday’s home game against Memphis with a strained right hamstring. Andrew Bogut left in the first quarter after bruising his pelvis and it’s uncertain if he’ll return Sunday.
Stephen Curry led Golden State (45-27) to its fourth win in five games by scoring 33 points in a 100-93 victory. The Warriors, currently sixth in the West, also improved to 3-1 on their five-game homestand while staying 1 1/2 games ahead of surging Phoenix and one game behind Portland.
"These are home games we need to close out to finish the season," Curry said. "We still have work to do. We have to play together and show up on the defensive end like we did tonight. We have the weapons to deliver a heavy punch at any time."
Curry had 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in a 126-103 road win over the Knicks on Feb. 28. Klay Thompson contributed 25 points to Golden State’s 17th win in the past 22 matchups with New York, which got 23 points and 16 rebounds from Anthony.
The Warriors have taken 10 of the last 11 home games in the series, and blew out the Knicks 92-63 in their most recent visit March 11, 2013.
Curry scored a team-best 26 points in that game and is averaging 32.2 points on 52.8 percent shooting in his last five meetings. He’s made 26 of 41 attempts from 3-point range in those games (63.4 percent).
Thompson has a combined 48 points in his last two games against the Knicks while making 18 of 35 shots (51.4 percent) and nine of 17 from beyond the arc (52.9 percent).