NEW YORK (AP) – After picking up their first road win of the season, David Lee and the Golden State Warriors face another tough challenge. And they might have to do so without their leading scorer.
Lee plays his first game in New York since being dealt by the Knicks on Wednesday night as the Warriors continue their road trip.
Lee had 14 points and 12 rebounds Monday in a 109-102 victory at Toronto. He has posted a double-double in each of Golden State’s five victories.
“More than anything we needed a road victory and needed to play well on the road,” said Lee, who was dealt to the Warriors the same day the Knicks signed Amar’e Stoudemire in a sign-and-trade from Phoenix. “I know that I needed to bring a lot of energy tonight to lead us, lead us emotionally on the road.”
Lee averaged double-doubles in three of his five seasons with the Knicks (3-4), becoming a fan favorite, and scored a career-high 20.2 points per game in 2009-10.
Monday’s win may have come at a cost for the Warriors, though. Monta Ellis, who leads the NBA in scoring at 27.9 points per game, suffered a strained back late in the fourth quarter after scoring 28.
The X-rays on Ellis’ back came back negative, but his status is uncertain. Golden State is 5-1 versus the Knicks when Ellis plays.
The Warriors are tied for 25th in the NBA with 101 road wins since the 2002-03 season and haven’t won back-to-back road games since beating Sacramento and Utah on April 5 and 11, 2009.
Stephen Curry, who scored a season-high 34 points Monday, likely will have to step up again if Ellis can’t play. He had been wearing a brace on his injured right ankle but decided to remove it early on against the Raptors.
“It feels freer, I think,” Curry said. “My ankle is in good shape right now but the brace is a little too restrictive. I’m getting rid of it and going with the heavy tape job.”
In spite of its struggles on the road, Golden State has won five of eight at New York.
The Knicks (3-4) are hoping to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season after falling in Milwaukee 107-80 on Tuesday night.
New York was outscored 41-19 in the first quarter, and coach Mike D’Antoni knows that the team can’t afford to come out with that kind of effort again.
“It was one of those nights. They got into us about midway through the first quarter and took us completely out of the game,” he said.
Stoudemire scored 19 points and matched a season low with four rebounds against the Bucks, but should bounce back Wednesday night.
With Phoenix, Stoudemire averaged 21.4 points and 9.3 rebounds against the Warriors, and scored 37 points on 12-of-15 shooting in his last game against them March 22.
Anthony Randolph – acquired from the Warriors in the Lee deal – has been hindered early by an ankle injury, but scored eight points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds in Tuesday night’s loss.
Randolph averaged 11.6 points in 33 games for Golden State last season.
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