After losing to the Hawks, the Warriors can limp out of Atlanta taking comfort in knowing the road gets considerably easier.
The Warriors (39-9) next confront the three worst teams in the NBA, beginning with the New York Knicks on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks (10-40) would like to think they are rebuilding, and maybe they are. There are signs of life lately, but this could take a while.
Amar'e Stoudemire is a shell of what he used to be and star forward is the only quality NBA starter on the roster. Derek Fisher is in his first year as coach, and legendary coach Phil Jackson is in his first year in the role of architect.
With Stephen Curry returning to the place where his star began to rise, this has all the ingredients necessary to be a bounce-back game for the Warriors.
OPENING LINE: Warriors by 8.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Harrison Barnes/Draymond Green/Klay Thompson vs. Carmelo Anthony. Anthony is New York's only true force on offense, so expect the Warriors to devote the bulk of their defensive strategies to stopping one of the league's best scorers. On the flip side, Anthony doesn't spend much energy on defense.
Stephen Curry vs. Jose Calderon. Calderon is an NBA vagabond for a reason. He has some skills but is not starter-caliber. He's smart and good with the ball, even capable of hitting the 3-pointer. But he's long in the tooth, slowing down and can't even dream of defending one of the best shooter's in the NBA.
KEYS TO VICTORY
1-Stay focused. The Knicks truly are a mess, home or away. If the Warriors show up ready to play, they ought to be able to take command in the opening minutes.
2-Have fun. The Warriors don't often experience defeat, so most have come in twos. Coming off a loss in Atlanta, they have to flush it. What better place than New York?
3-Remember the D. The Warriors were abused on defense Friday, and that's an element they're trying to make part of their identity. Get back to it to getting after it.
LAST 10: Warriors 7-3, Knicks 5-5.
Warriors: No injuries listed.
Knicks: F Amar'e Stoudemire (sprained left ankle) and C Cole Aldrich (left shin contusion) are listed as probable. G Pablo Prigioni (sore left hip) is listed as doubtful. F Andrea Bargnani (sore right calf) is listed as out.
The Warriors have won 17 of the last 23 meetings, including seven of the last 10. They have won eight of the last 12 at Madison Square Garden.