Don Nelson hasn’t been able to add many wins to his resume in recent years with the Golden State Warriors, but he has still managed to find a way to take advantage of matchups with the New York Knicks.
Nelson, trying to get closer to becoming the winningest coach in league history, leads a Warriors team seeking its eighth straight home win over the Knicks on Friday night.
Though Golden State (21-53) is set to finish with its worst record since going 21-61 in 2001-02, there is one storyline that could make its final eight games compelling. Nelson, in his fourth season with the Warriors, is two wins shy of matching Lenny Wilkens’ record of 1,332.
Golden State’s struggles haven’t made Nelson’s bid easy. Last season, the Warriors went 29-53.
Still, Golden State has been able to continue its success against New York (26-48), winning 13 of the last 17 meetings.
Golden State had won two of three before losing 128-104 to Utah on Wednesday night. It was the sixth game the Warriors have lost by 20 points or more.
Poor defense continues to plague Golden State, which has allowed a league-worst 112.5 points per game. Over the last nine, the Warriors have given up an average of 122.2.
Curry has been one of Golden State’s few bright spots, averaging 19.8 points and 7.2 assists while shooting 50.0 percent (40 for 80) from 3-point range and 92.6 percent (25 for 27) from the line in 14 games last month.
Curry had one of his worst games against the Knicks, playing 2 1/2 minutes and finishing without a point in a 121-107 win Nov. 13.
The Warriors used their 45th different starting lineup and had nine players or fewer in uniform for the 41st time.
New York may be without Al Harrington(notes) after he tweaked his left ankle in the third quarter of a 118-90 loss to Portland on Wednesday night. Harrington, averaging 17.7 points and 5.7 rebounds, is listed as questionable.
The veteran forward played one full season and parts of two others with the Warriors before being traded to the Knicks on Nov. 21, 2008. His absence would leave David Lee(notes) and Danilo Gallinari(notes) as the only Knicks players taller than 6-foot-8.
A short-handed frontcourt wouldn’t bode well as New York plays the fourth game of what has been a winless five-game trip.
“It’s all mental. You’ve got to want to play hard and play to win,” rookie guard Toney Douglas(notes) said. “When we face adversity we can’t just fall off. We’ve got to keep our composure and play hard all game.”