OAKLAND — The play is called "one up", and it is pretty much a pick-and-roll. Swingman Stephen Jackson sets a screen for the ball-handler — usually guards Monta Ellis or Jamal Crawford — and then they work the two-man game.
Hardly rocket science, per NBA standards. But it might as well have been molecular biology to the New York Knicks defense.
"We had them in a bind on a play and basically ran it about 30 straight times," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "Until they stopped it, we were going to continue to run it. And they never stopped it."
They never stopped anything.
The Warriors' 144-127 win over the visiting Knicks on Tuesday featured either some impressive offense or embarrassing defense, depending on how you look at it. In a reversal from the last meeting, when the teams combined for 263 points as New York won by 13, the Warriors ran circles around the Knicks.
Golden State (18-35) simply had more firepower than New York — that or the Knicks defense was just that much more permeable than the Warriors.
The Warriors set a season-high for points. In any game this season, by any team, in regulation or overtime. The previous Warriors' high was 133, set in a triple-overtime loss to visiting Sacramento on Jan. 14. Golden State hadn't racked up this many points since it beat the Kings 153-91 on Nov. 2, 1991.
The Warriors, who finished with a season-high 55.3 percent shooting, made 25 of their first 37 shots of the second half. Jackson had 35 points on 20 attempts, with 10 assists and six rebounds. Crawford and swingman Kelenna Azubuike combined for 43 points on 25 shots.
The Warriors were so unstoppable — or New York's defense was so inept, depending on how you look at it — that Ellis' 17 points on 6-for-14 shooting was the least efficient performance of the night.
"We were making shots tonight and a lot of guys played well," Azubuike said. "We're not going to be shooting perfect every night, but hopefully if we can keep that concept of playing together as a team, we'll do well. Our confidence is up right now. We're learning each other more and our chemistry is getting better."
As a result, the Warriors now own their first winning streak in nearly a month. They've won three consecutive home games for the first time this season, and all three were fairly comfortable triumphs as the average margin of victory was 16.3 points.
The Warriors really heated up in the third quarter. Led by 10 points each from Crawford and Ellis, the Warriors made 14 of 22 shots from the field. Ellis, showing a flash of his former jaw-dropping athleticism, collected a loose ball on the defensive end and went coast-to-coast, gliding in for a reverse finger roll to put the Warriors up 101-89 inside the two-minute mark in the third quarter. It capped a 13-5 run that gave Golden State control.
Thanks to their defense, the Warriors maintained control. To be sure, they weren't exactly the '95-96 Chicago Bulls. New York made 54.4 percent of its shots and registered its second-highest scoring performance of the season (the first was the 138 against the Warriors in November). Guard Nate Robinson went for 30 off the bench. Forward David Lee had 27 points on 10-for-15 shooting.
But the Warriors played just enough defense to get the win. They forced 17 turnovers, which led to 25 points. Ronny Turiaf, starting in place of injured center Andris Biedrins, registered half of the Warriors' eight blocks, which at least made New York think about attacking the basket.
Jackson locked up on Harrington in the second half, and the former Warrior scored two of his 24 points after halftime.
"To hold a team to 54.5 percent shooting and feel like you played them better the second time than the first time," Nelson said, "I guess that says something."
It says either excellent offense, or atrocious defense, depending on how you look at it.
Contact Marcus Thompson II at firstname.lastname@example.org.