|New York @ Golden State|
|127 - 144|
The former Warriors forward should have saved whatever energy he possessed for playing a little defense. Harrington and his New York Knicks were just too pitiful to boo while Golden State rolled to the highest point total in the NBA this season.
Stephen Jackson had a season-high 35 points, 10 assists and six rebounds, and Jamal Crawford added 21 points against his former team in the Warriors' third straight home victory, 144-127 over the defenseless Knicks on Tuesday night.
Kelenna Azubuike had 22 points and 10 rebounds as the Warriors obliterated their previous season high for points and surpassed Orlando's previous NBA-high 139 points. Despite Harrington's 22 first-half points and the Knicks' own prolific offense, Golden State faced almost no opposition.
"A loss is a loss. We're trying to make the playoffs and it wasn't a thing with me versus Golden State," said Harrington, who finished with 24 points and nine rebounds in his first game back since the Warriors traded him Nov. 21 for Crawford. "I just wanted to win. It wasn't personal between me and the Warriors. It's a team game. We tried to win as hard as we could, and we just came up short."
If that's the Knicks' best effort, it'll be a long second half of the season. New York lost its fifth straight - and lost three players to injuries as well.
The Warriors scored 79 points on 27-of-40 shooting in the second half while mostly running just one play, called one-up, which sets up Jackson for a low-post basket or creates an open jumper for Crawford or Monta Ellis . Coach Don Nelson thought the Warriors must have run it 30 times, and New York just never adjusted.
"Until they stopped it, we were going to continue to run it, and they never stopped it," Nelson said with a shrug. "The extra pass was good for us - 29 assists. Jack played both ends of the floor in the second half and really shut Al down. ... The whole team played together. It wasn't as successful as I wanted defensively, but it was good enough."
Although Jackson played little defense in the first half on Harrington, his good friend and former teammate at Indiana and Golden State, he made up for it with an impressive offensive game, hitting four 3-pointers and going 13-for-13 from the free throw line.
Harrington, who joined the Warriors in January 2007, had a bitter homecoming to the city he first embraced and then campaigned to leave.
The veteran forward played a key role in the long-suffering franchise's first-round playoff upset of top-seeded Dallas later that year. But his playing time declined the following seasons, and he made a trade request that was eventually accommodated.
Harrington acknowledged being particularly wired for the game beforehand, and he showed it by calling on the boos, inciting the Oakland crowd to levels of disdain it previously reserved for reviled former Warriors forward Mike Dunleavy .
After taking twice as many shots as his teammates in the first half, Harrington managed just two points on 1-for-6 shooting after halftime. He spent the final few minutes quietly on the bench with his three remaining teammates.
"Everybody knows Al is going to come back with something on his mind," Jackson said. "He's still a great scorer, a great player, and definitely difficult to guard. In the second half, we paid more attention to him, didn't give him as many open shots, and were able to slow him down."
The teams met in New York eight days after the trade, with the Knicks winning 138-125 in the Warriors' worst defensive outing of the year. Golden State set its own season-high for points in the rematch, easily surpassing a 133-point effort in a triple-overtime game last month.
David Lee had 27 points and 11 rebounds, and Nate Robinson scored 30 points for the Knicks, whose defensive inadequacies were made even worse by a rash of injuries.
Quentin Richardson was out of New York's lineup with a bruised chest, and the Knicks then lost Tim Thomas late in the first half to a sore left groin. Midway through the fourth quarter, point guard Chris Duhon sprained his left ankle. Duhon finished with 13 points and nine assists.
"I thought we got physically outmanned," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "I thought they were just better than us physically. We lost Timmy at halftime. Duhon limped the whole game. Those are excuses, and not to pull them out, but I also don't want to throw my guys under the bus. I just thought that they ran out of gas, and Golden State's a very good team at this moment."
Notes: Golden State went 20-for-21 from the free throw line in the second half. ... Eight Warriors scored in double figures, including Ellis, who had 17 points in his 10th game back from his serious ankle injury. ... Lee scored a career-high 37 points in the Knicks' win over Golden State in November.