Nelson closes in on record with win over Knicks
OAKLAND – Don Nelson moved within one win of tying Lenny Wilkens for the most victories by an NBA coach when the Golden State Warriors beat the New York Knicks 128-117 on Friday night.
Anthony Morrow scored a season-high 35 points and Reggie Williams added 23 to help Nelson secure his 1,331st win. He has seven games left this season to tie and break Wilkens’ mark of 1,332.
David Lee led the Knicks with a season-high 37 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists for his first career triple-double. But New York fell to 0-4 on a five-game road trip that ends Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The only significance of this game between teams long eliminated from playoff contention was for individual accomplishments. There were a few, most notably for Nelson.
Nelson has downplayed the record all season, but said it’s hard to ignore it with all the text messages and e-mails he has received from well-wishers.
“It makes me eager to get it behind me … if we can,” Nelson said before the game.
His first chance to tie the mark will be Sunday in Toronto when the Warriors begin a four-game road trip. Golden State doesn’t return home until April 11 against Oklahoma City.
The Knicks were a perfect opponent to help Nelson move closer to the record, as they play little defense and were careless with the ball with 23 turnovers.
New York quickly turned a 10-point, first-quarter lead into a 20-point, second-quarter deficit before making a run in the third quarter. Lee and Bill Walker fueled a 14-2 spurt and Toney Douglas got the deficit down to 81-80 when he banked in a 3-pointer.
But the Warriors responded with a 10-2 run and took a 97-89 lead into the fourth quarter. A 3-pointer by Devean George early in the period extended the lead to 109-96 and the Warriors coasted from there.
Corey Maggette added 21 points for Golden State and Stephen Curry had 15 points and 10 assists.
Danilo Gallinari added 29 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Knicks.
The Warriors fell behind by 10 points less than 3 minutes into the game, leading to an early timeout called by Nelson. But the Knicks lead was short-lived and they soon found themselves facing a double-digit deficit.
Three straight baskets by Morrow helped spark a 12-0 run early in the second quarter that gave Golden State a 49-34 lead. After a 3-pointer by Walker ended the run, Morrow scored six points in an 8-0 spurt that helped the Warriors extend the lead to 20 points.
The Knicks got the deficit down to 65-51 at the half but couldn’t get closer because of 15 first-half turnovers.
NOTES: Tracy McGrady did not play the second half with a sore left knee. He finished with three points in 14 minutes. … Monta Ellis missed his third straight game with the flu and might not join the Warriors for the start of their road trip Sunday in Toronto. … The Knicks signed C Earl Barron to a 10-day contract before the game. He did not play. … Golden State C Chris Hunter wore a mask to protect his broken nose.
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