Porzingis leads Knicks against Warriors
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry gets a first-hand look at a probable All-Star he might have the option of drafting for the Feb. 18 showcase when Kristaps Porzingis and the New York Knicks visit the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night.
The Knicks have alternated wins and losses in their first four outings on a seven-game trip necessitated by "The Grammys" using Madison Square Garden for rehearsals leading up to the big show Sunday night. They are coming off a 127-107 drubbing at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.
Porzingis has averaged 20.5 points on the first four games of the trip and almost surely will be named among the seven Eastern Conference reserves when the full All-Star Game rosters are officially announced shortly before Tuesday's tip-off.
Curry, as the leading vote-getter in the Western Conference, will join LeBron James as captains for the game. Under a new format, they will pick their teams from the 24 selected All-Stars, with James getting first pick among the starters.
Porzingis was not among the 10 starters -- five from each conference -- announced last week.
Curry in turn will get the first selection when the reserves are drafted. That assures he will get a shot at Porzingis -- presuming he earns an All-Star spot as expected -- although Warriors teammates Draymond Green and Klay Thompson are others who figure to be available when Curry makes the first pick among the reserves.
Porzingis was not happy to be beaten out by Philadelphia's Joel Embiid for a starting spot among the Eastern players. The Knicks star was chosen for the spot in a vote among players, but Embiid got the nod from coaches and fans, giving him the edge.
"Players know," Porzingis insisted. "That's all I'm going to say."
The last time the third-year NBA player went up against the Warriors in Oakland, he was held to eight points in a 103-90 loss in December of 2016.
He was even less productive on his visit as a rookie, shooting 1-for-11 and totaling just two points.
All told, he's faced the Warriors four times in his career and averaged 10.0 points, about half his overall career average (17.8). He also has never beaten Golden State, going 0-4 with a 19.3-point average margin of defeat.
The clubs have not faced each other this season.
To make matters worse for Porzingis and the Knicks, the Warriors are coming off a loss at Houston as they prepare to open a five-day, three-game homestand.
The Warriors have rebounded from their previous nine losses this season with a win each time, with a 17.9-point average margin of victory.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr is well aware his club has been better on the road (21-4) than at home (16-6) this season.
"Actually, I feel better on the road than I do at home right now," he said with a smile. "But that'll change."
The Warriors had won 14 in a row on the road -- the third-longest streak in NBA history -- before completing a five-game trip Saturday with a 116-108 loss at Houston.
Updated January 23, 2018