OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors used one of the best defensive performances in franchise history to pull away gradually from the New York Knicks, spoiling the return of Carmelo Anthony in a lopsided, 92-63 victory Monday at Oracle Arena.
Less than two weeks after Stephen Curry's 54 points weren't enough to produce a Warriors victory in Madison Square Garden, the Warriors held the Knicks to that same total through three full quarters, building a 21-point advantage that eventually became their largest margin of victory this season.
The 63 points surrendered were the fewest by a Warriors team since the Philadelphia Warriors held the Milwaukee Hawks to 63 on Dec. 28, 1953. It also was the fewest given up by the Warriors since the Knicks scored only 78 on their last visit to Oakland, in the third game of the 2011-12 season.
Anthony, who sat out New York's previous three games with a sore right knee, was a nonfactor in the defeat despite recording a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double. But if there were a silver lining, it was that Knicks coach Mike Woodson was able to dictate his star's minutes without having to worry about their impact on a win or loss. Anthony played just 33 1/2 minutes.
The Knicks also have a day of rest Tuesday before making the second stop on an eight-day, five-game trip Wednesday in Denver.
In snapping a two-game losing streak and winning for a third time in five games on their current seven-game homestand, the Warriors held the Knicks to an NBA season-low 27.4 percent shooting. Golden State got 20-plus-point scoring from both inside (David Lee) and outside (Curry and Klay Thompson) sources en route to the surprisingly easy win.
Curry bombed in six 3-pointers and had a game-high 26 points in 37 minutes after having torched the Knicks in New York on Feb. 27.
The Warriors led by as many as 17 points in the first half Monday, then gave their fans a reason to head home early with an 11-0 burst early in the third period. Thompson contributed four of his 23 points to the flurry that produced a 67-40 advantage.
Lee, returning from a one-day absence caused by a bruised knee, nearly recorded a triple-double against his ex-mates, finishing with 21 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Andrew Bogut (11) and Festus Ezeli (10) also had double-figure rebound games as Golden State enjoyed a 59-42 advantage on the boards.
Reserve Chris Copeland had 15 points for the Knicks, who earlier in the day learned that star center Amar'e Stoudemire had undergone surgery on his right knee.
The procedure, called a debridement, removed damaged tissue. The expected recovery time, according to the Knicks, is six weeks.
The Knicks also played the final 18 1/2 minutes without standout sixth man J.R. Smith, who received a Flagrant 2 foul and automatic ejection for a two-hand overhand chop across the body of Harrison Barnes on a shot attempt.
The Warriors initially took control in the second quarter, dominating the Knicks at both ends of the floor en route to a 50-35 halftime advantage.
Curry got the Warriors' offense rolling with 11 first-quarter points and a pair of 3-pointers midway through the second period that helped the home team start to edge away.
But the biggest difference in the half was the matchup between Lee and Anthony.
The Warriors started going to their power forward on almost every possession over the final 4 1/2 minutes of the half, and he delivered with two hoops, three free throws and an assist, singlehandedly outscoring the Knicks, who totaled only six points over that stretch.
Meanwhile, Anthony had almost no answer. He had a follow shot and a free throw in that time, finishing a half in which he missed six of his eight shots while being held to seven points.
Curry led all scorers through two periods with 17 points.
NOTES: Woodson wasn't making any promises on Stoudemire's possible return to the club for the playoffs, noting before the game, "I'm hoping we're going to get him back." ... Extrapolating out, six weeks from Monday's procedure would be April 22, by which point most playoff teams would be a game or two into their first-round series. ... When Stoudemire had a similar procedure on his left knee in October, he missed eight weeks, during which the team went 21-9. Eight weeks from Monday would be May 6, which is projected to be well into Round 2 of the postseason. ... Speaking of the playoffs, Warriors coach Mark Jackson would rather not. "Playoffs? In this arena?" he blurted, channeling his inner Jim Mora. "Thank you for the compliment. We're in a good place. But it's now about correcting what's wrong and winning ballgames." ... Before Monday, Lee had been the ultimate all-or-nothing performer against the Knicks, for whom he played his first five NBA seasons. In four Warriors-Knicks matchups since moving west in a sign-and-trade in 2010, Lee missed two with injuries and averaged 20.5 points on 60.0 percent shooting in the other two. ... The Knicks' traveling party included injured Rasheed Wallace, who hasn't played since Dec. 13 because of a broken foot. "He's on the trip for moral support," Woodson said, adding, "We're going to hopefully get him back soon." ... Jackson had one eye on the Knicks and the other on his computer before Monday's game, the latter allowing him to monitor his son Mark Jr.'s team, Manhattan College, in its conference-tournament championship game. Jackson called his son before the game, reminding him, "The bottom line is to stay ready and enjoy it. It goes fast. Same message: I love him. That's not going to change, (NCAA) Tournament or no Tournament." Iona beat Manhattan 60-57 Monday to claim the MAAC title and an NCAA bid.