OAKLAND, Calif. -- These are the old Golden State Warriors, the team they've been talking about resurrecting for the last month or so. The defensive stoppers who use stops to fuel their potent offense.
The Warriors steamrolled New York 92-63 on Monday night, the fewest points allowed by the franchise in more than 59 years. The Knicks shot 27.4 percent -- the lowest in the NBA this season and the lowest allowed by Golden State since November 1975 -- succumbing to the dominance of the Warriors defense.
OK, OK. The Knicks offense had something to do with it.
"At the end of the day," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said, "that's a heck of a defensive night. I don't know how many teams in history have nights like that. It takes a combination of great defense and at times bad offense. I wish we could take the credit, but it's a combination."
Certainly, the Knicks offense was offensive. They missed 22 of their 27 3-pointers, missed 10 free throws and had one more turnover (13) than assists.
The Knicks played without star forward Amar'e Stoudemire. Carmelo Anthony did play but clearly was limited by the sore right knee that had held him out the previous three games. Anthony was 4-of-15 shooing in 34 minutes of action, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Stoudemire missed his second consecutive game because of a knee injury that required surgery. He is expected to be miss at least six weeks.
New York guard J.R. Smith, who has been the Knicks most reliable scorer at times, finished with nine points on 3-of-11 shooting.
"We had nothing going offensively," New York coach Mike Woodson said, "and I don't know if it was a whole lot of what they were doing. Shots that we normally make, we just didn't make."
But after two straight losses at home, to Houston and Milwaukee, Golden State didn't seem to care who got the credit. After four nail-biters at home, the Warriors got a comfortable victory for a change.
The Warriors (36-29) moved to 1 1/2 games ahead of idle Houston, and 2 1/2 games ahead of the No. 8 seed, currently shared by the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers.
"It didn't matter how we got it," Stephen Curry said after Golden State improved to 3-2 on the seven-game homestand. "We just needed to win. We (had) two games in a row against teams that we matched up well against, and we didn't get it done. So this win was important for us."
It helped to get forward David Lee back in the lineup. He flirted with a triple-double -- 21 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists in 38 minutes -- and looked every bit recovered from the right knee contusion that kept him out of Saturday's loss to Milwaukee. He had an MRI that revealed no structural damage, so he returned to the lineup and proved to be a major difference.
With Curry and guard Klay Thompson combining for 10 3-pointers and 49 points, the Warriors had more than enough offense to dispatch the Knicks.
The Warriors took over the game with a 41-15 run bridging the second and third quarters.
Curry's fourth 3-pointer of the game put the Warriors up 31-25 with 7:18 left in the first half. After a miss by Anthony, guard Jarrett Jack drilled a 17-footer.
A pair of Raymond Felton free throws cut the lead to six, but another Curry 3-pointer pushed the lead back to nine with 6:14 left.
The lead was up to 14 after Thompson followed a 3-pointer with a turnaround jumper. Later, a jump hook by Lee pushed Golden State's advantage to 49-32.
Third quarters had been a problem for the Warriors, but not Monday. They extended their 15-point halftime lead to 27 halfway through the third quarter. Beginning with a pull-up jumper by Harrison Barnes, the Warriors went on a 17-3 run in less than four minutes.
Curry officially ended the suspense with a step-back 3-pointer on a kick-out from rookie center Festus Ezeli. The Warriors led 74-47, and it was clear at that point they would get their first blowout victory in recent memory.
"We made it click," Jackson said. "We executed. We defended. We rebounded. At the end of the day, I tell my team, 'That's who we are,' and we are well aware of it. Now let's continue to build on it.
The last time the Warriors held an opponent to 63 points or fewer was on Dec. 28, 1953, when the Philadelphia Warriors edged the visiting Milwaukee Hawks 69-63.
Monday was also the worst shooting percentage by a Warriors opponent since Nov. 22, 1975, when Golden State held the host Washington Bullets to 26.9 percent.
Smith was ejected in the third quarter after a hard foul on Barnes.
Barnes was posting up Smith and exploded toward the rim. Smith swiped hard with two hands, catching Barnes in the head.
It was initially ruled a flagrant 1 but after review was changed to a flagrant 2, and Smith was ejected.
"I don't think he was trying to hurt the kid," Woodson said.
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