In the first game between the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors since Stephen Curry exploded for 54 points on Feb. 27, point guard Raymond Felton needs to step up in one of two ways: offensively or defensively.
Curry shot 18-28, including 11-13 from three-point range on that night. But wait, there’s more.
He also dished out seven assists, grabbed six rebounds and recorded three steals on the evening. Curry absolutely schooled Felton back in February, embarrassing him during the 39 minutes Felton was on the court.
Though the Knicks were able to come out victorious, that doesn’t mean Felton’s ego came out on the winning side.
Felton needs to step up his play Monday night to prove that Curry’s performance was a fluke. There would be no better way to silence critics than to hold Curry to a poor statistical game.
The numbers Felton puts up don’t necessarily need to wow anyone in this game if his focus is to solely shine on the defensive end.
If he can shut down Curry and take him out of the game, those who cover basketball will appreciate the tough defense Felton played.
Curry must be stopped before he even gets started.
Conversely, Felton could be the type of player to attempt to outdo Curry. Let’s get this straight: Felton will never score 50-plus points in a game. He’s not that type of player.
What I meant by outdoing Curry is to have an even greater statistical accomplishment.
Felton is a traditional point guard and worries about getting his teammates involved. He currently leads the team in assists with 5.8 per game.
A traditional point guard performance with a high number of assists could be enough for Felton to avenge his embarrassment. If Felton walks out of Oracle Arena having dished out 15 or more assists, it may make up for the horrendous performance last month.
What Felton needs to do is play with a chip on his shoulder. He needs to take those 54 points personally and play motivated. He needs that fire in his stomach.
I haven’t seen that from Felton in a while. He’s been a consistent force on offense, which is obviously a good thing. He just needs to step up his play on Monday night.