NBA: Warriors' passing interest

Assists an outstanding facet of Golden State's season, as they prove in win against Knicks

OAKLAND (California) • Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr admitted his team were far from their best while shooting and defending on Thursday night.

But when it came to passing the basketball, the Warriors were perfect for almost 35 minutes, and that was more than enough to dispatch their undermanned National Basketball Association opponents.

The Warriors passed the ball effortlessly around the New York Knicks, recording assists on their first 36 baskets in a 103-90 victory to improve to 7-0 against Eastern Conference teams this season.

"That was the lone bright spot of the game," Kerr said of the ball distribution after watching his side hit 45 of their 96 shots (46.9 per cent), while New York were held to 41.3 per cent shooting from the field.

"They really look for one another. That's a theme almost every night. That's such a great quality to have as a team."


JaVale McGee of the Golden State Warriors dunks over Kyle O'Quinn of the New York Knicks on Thursday. The Warriors won 103-90 and had assists on their first 36 baskets for a total of 41 assists in the game. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Klay Thompson hit 10 of his 17 shots en route to a game-high 25 points and JaVale McGee dropped in a season-best 17 in a rare start.

The Warriors recorded assists on every basket until the sequence was broken with 1min 11sec left in the third period on a driving hoop by reserve guard Ian Clark.

The 41 total assists gave Golden State (23-4) at least 30 in 19 of their 27 games. No other NBA team has reached 30 more than four times.

The Warriors have topped 40 assists three times this season, becoming the first team to do so since the 1996-97 Chicago Bulls.

Golden State assisted on all but four of their 45 baskets, the first team this season to record assists on at least 90 per cent of their hoops.

"I read an incredible statistic today," Thompson said. "We have a chance to be the first team since 'Showtime' (the Magic Johnson-led Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s) to average 115 points and 30 assists.

"That's pretty amazing."

Kevin Durant (eight), Stephen Curry (eight) and Draymond Green (seven) led the assist barrage against a Knicks team who were without Carmelo Anthony (bruised right shoulder) and Derrick Rose (sore lower back).

Durant nearly recorded a triple-double, having registered 15 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. The double-double was his 10th of the season.

Curry finished with a season-low eight points but found time for a season-high 10 rebounds.

"That's the beauty of our team," Thompson said. "Nobody cares about their numbers. Nobody holds the ball. It's fun to watch."

  • 4

  • Number of unassisted Golden State baskets out of 45.

Reserves Justin Holiday (15 points) and Ron Baker (career-high 13) were the leading scorers for the Knicks (14-12).

"Let's make sure we get him healthy," Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said of Anthony, who together with Rose is a doubt for tonight's game (tomorrow morning, Singapore time) in Denver.

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2016, with the headline 'Warriors' passing interest'. Print Edition | Subscribe