Striving for consistency in their performances at Oracle Arena, the Warriors open a three-game homestand Tuesday as heavy favorites to beat the New York Knicks.
After three seasons of utter dominance at home -- including a record 54 consecutive wins -- the Warriors (37-10) have more losses at Oracle (six) than elsewhere (four). A variety of factors, with ennui and a lack of urgency at the top, have conspired to make them merely good at home.
The Knicks (21-26, 6-17 on the road), particularly with star forward Kristaps Porzingis out of the lineup, are the kind of relatively toothless squad capable of testing the resolve of the Warriors. The Warriors last home game was a 125-106 loss to a Clippers team without Blake Griffin and three other regular starters.
Warriors by 16.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Kevin Durant vs. Tim Hardaway Jr.: With Porzingis out, the scoring burden falls to the son of former Warriors great Tim Hardaway. Junior, who was born in Alameda, is New York's No. 2 scorer (18.4 points per game) and is capable of big nights; he hung 38 points on the Raptors earlier this season. Even if Hardaway has a big night, it's not likely to offset Durant, who is playing fine defense and may be the most complete scorer in the league.
Warriors: F Jordan Bell (L ankle sprain) is listed as out.
Knicks: F Kyle O'Quinn (L calf contusion) and F Kristaps Porzingis (L knee irritation) are listed as out.
Warriors: 8-2. Knicks: 3-7.
James Williams (crew chief), Brent Barnaky, Brett Nansel
This is the first meeting between the teams this season. The Warriors swept the two-game series last season, have won eight of the last nine and 23 of the last 29.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
THE INTENSITY LEVEL: The Warriors often start sluggishly at home and sometimes find themselves in a hold. Though they usually dig out, it's a habit they are trying to break. It starts with defense. If they come out locker room like a pack of wolves, they are able to run the Porzingis-less Knicks off the floor. If not, they are capable of keeping the Knicks in the game.
THE TURNOVER GAME: The Warriors are prone to commit a lot of turnovers; only the Lakers and 76ers commit more. But the Knicks, who play at a slower pace, actually commit a higher percentage of turnovers and rank 26th in that category. The number of points off turnovers could be high, and might be significant enough to affect the outcome.
THE BENCHES: The Warriors haven't had a plethora of 3-point shooting off the bench but they do have a bench that uses solid defense and offensive spurts to extend leads. The Knicks, however, have a special scorer in Michael Beasley. If he gets hot, as Lou Williams did two weeks ago, Beasley can carry a subpar roster.