By Sandeep Chandok
It was an emotional day for the NBA and sports world alike as Turner Sports broadcaster Craig Sager passed away earlier today after an over two-year battle with Leukemia.
The Warriors and Knicks gathered at half court prior to the game as Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr reminded everyone of Sager’s admirable qualities and what he meant to the NBA.
Kerr then suggested that everyone in Oracle Arena pay tribute to Sager not with the typical moment of silence, but rather something Sager would appreciate: a moment of joy in the form of applause.
Players on both teams wore “Sager Strong” t-shirts during warm-ups and many fans in attendance showed their respect for Sager with appreciation signs.
As for the game, the Dubs were in the driver’s seat all night in their 103-90 victory as both Carmelo Anthony (shoulder) and Derrick Rose (back spasms) sat out for the Knicks.
Javale Mcgee, yes, he is the first Warriors player being mentioned, scored eight points on four dunks in the first quarter and Klay Thompson added nine points and three assists of his own.
Thompson scored a game-high 25 points but the story of the game was the number of assists to baskets made by the Warriors.
The Dubs finished the first half with 26 assists on 26 made field goals.
Their unselfish play continued into the third quarter as they would record 36 assists on 36 made field goals before an Ian Clark layup with 1:11 remaining in the period ended the streak.
They ended the game with 41 assists on 45 made field goals as Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green combined for 22 of the 41 helpers.
Green’s campaign for defensive player of the year continued as he drew the assignment of guarding Kristaps Porzingis and held him to just eight points on 4-13 shooting. Porzingis scored 34 points in New York’s previous game.
Despite having taken an 88-66 into the fourth quarter, the game was the last thing on Coach Kerr’s mind.
“I’m not thinking much about this game to be perfectly honest with you,” Kerr told TNT’s Lewis Johnson after the third quarter. “I’m thinking about Craig and his family.”
The Warriors next game is on Saturday against the Portland Trailblazers in a matchup of two of the NBA’s best backcourts.