Knicks vs. Warriors: New York's scrappy defense faces slumping Golden State

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have stayed afloat without Carmelo Anthony, and they face the slumping Golden State Warriors hoping that, with or without their star, their success continues.

Carmelo Anthony's absence hasn't dampened the New York Knicks' spirits. Sitting out three games with a knee injury and questionable to play Monday night against the Golden State Warriors in the Bay Area, the NBA's second-best scorer has watched his team go 2-1 in his absence with a lone loss coming in a close 95-94 defeat to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Meanwhile, the Warriors remain in a free-fall that has cost them six of their last eight games as their once potent offense has withered in effectiveness. They could receive a boost with the return of forward David Lee, who has said that he'll return from a bruised knee that kept him from the Golden State's game on Saturday against the Milwaukee Bucks.

But with or without Anthony, New York will be a tough task for the Warriors.

It's not too deep in their memory banks that the Warriors needed 54 points from point guard Stephen Curry only to fall to the Knicks, 109-105, in Madison Square Garden a few weeks ago. It's also daunting that New York's defensive rise led by Tyson Chandler and company faces a Warriors team that has scored 100 or more in only two of its last eight outings.

A flurry of three-pointers

There's a chance Golden State can regain its mojo with Klay Thompson joining Curry on the best three-point shooting team in the NBA, which is hitting 39.5 percent of its shots from beyond the arc.

The Knicks have played solid perimeter defense with Iman Shumpert, Jason Kidd and at times J.R. Smith applying disruptive perimeter pressure with Chandler patrolling the paint.

On the other side of things, coach Mark Jackson's team also gives up the most three-point attempts per game in the league (23.5). The Warriors are in the top-third of the league in three-point defense, meaning those differentials could go a long way in the final score. How the Warriors limit the Jackson-described "hand-down, man-down" situations will be key.

New York leads the NBA by attempting 29.5 three-pointers per game.

Most recently against the Utah Jazz without Anthony, the Knicks cranked up 32 longballs and hit 13 in a 113-84 win against the Western Conference's other notable slumping playoff contender.

Conflicting styles

Golden State is top-five in pace while the Knicks are the sixth-slowest team in the NBA, according to the Stats tool. Transition opportunities will be limited for the Warriors, as the Knicks turn the ball over the least number of times in the NBA while also having the best turnover differential. Golden State, on the other hand, is one of the top-five turnover-prone teams in the league.

Time: 10:30 p.m. ET

TV: CSNBayArea / MSG

Odds: The Warriors opened as 3.5-point favorites.

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