NEW YORK -- The message was loud and clear: Knicks fans were disgusted by what they saw.
Isiah Thomas didn't blame them.
Baron Davis had 31 points, seven assists and six rebounds, and the Golden State Warriors ruined Stephon Marbury's return to the starting lineup Tuesday night with a 108-82 victory, sending New York to its seventh consecutive loss.
Marbury scored 18 points, but the Knicks were never in the game in the second half and were booed often over the final three quarters. So was Thomas, who saw no results from his decision to demote Marbury last week and heard the familiar "Fire Isiah!" cries on a few occasions during the game.
"They were right. What they saw tonight, if I had paid my money to see this game, I'd be upset also," said Thomas, who said Monday he wasn't worried about losing his job. "This is New York, and when you're playing well you get cheered, and you play this poorly you get booed and there's a lot of venom that comes at you."
Thomas blamed himself for the poor performance.
"When you're watching a game like we played tonight, the venom that comes out, you deserve it," he said. "The booing, 'Get rid of this guy, get rid of me, get rid of him,' that's how the fans react. It comes with the territory we have and the place that we live in. That's how it is, that's how it goes."
Stephen Jackson added 23 points for the resurgent Warriors, who have won three in a row after an 0-6 start. Jackson missed all of those losses while serving a seven-game NBA suspension, but Golden State is clearly a different team with its captain on the floor.
"He is a very good player," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "He's the heart and soul of our team. To have him back was a tremendous boost of confidence for our ballclub. Having him back in the lineup was a big relief for me, but an even bigger one for the team."
"We have to revamp," Marbury said. "We have to go back to the drawing board."
Marbury was demoted a week ago and responded by skipping a game in Phoenix. He served as a reserve for the final three games of New York's road trip, then was told at the beginning of the Knicks' shootaround Tuesday that he was returning to the lineup.
Davis, who shot 11-of-20 from the floor, was the wrong guy to have to face first.
"We knew everybody they were going to play and they played," Davis said. "It was a matter of coming and knowing what they were going to do and prevent them from doing it."
The losing streak is New York's longest since Larry Brown was in charge two years ago, and it felt like those days again last week with Marbury and his coach feuding. Thomas acknowledged before the game that Marbury's demotion was a punishment, and believes Marbury has learned his lesson.
"Last year he always guarded the best player and he did a good job in shutting guys down," Thomas said before the game. "To start the season the way he started with those kind of lapses is inexcusable and unacceptable, and I think we're over that."
Marbury was introduced last during pregame introductions, as usual, and loudly booed -- though not as heavily as Thomas. The boos started again as soon as Marbury got the ball after the opening tip, and resumed every time he touched the ball in the early going.
"That's how they feel," Marbury said. "You're never going to control how somebody feels."
Working mostly against Marbury, Davis scored 12 points in the first quarter, when the Warriors shot 55 percent and led by as many as 11. New York closed to 47-43 on Randolph's three-point play with 4:20 left in the half, but some sloppy play in the closing minutes let Golden State pull away and angered the crowd.
Jackson's 3-pointer made it 58-47 with 1:02 left, and the boos reached their loudest point about 10 seconds later after yet another turnover. The "Fire Isiah!" chants returned seconds later, and the Knicks were booed off the floor after committing 15 turnovers and trailing 60-47.
The Knicks couldn't make any sort of run in the second half against the league's worst defensive team. They trailed 77-62 after Davis' jumper with 2.1 seconds to go in the third, then never get closer than 13 in the final period.
|Baron Davis scores 31 to upstage Stephon Marbury in his return to New York's starting lineup. (AP)|
|Golden State (3-6) «||31||29||17||31||108|
|New York (2-8)||24||23||15||20||82|
|GS:B. Davis 31 Pts
GS:B. Davis 6 Reb
GS:B. Davis 7 Ast
|NY:S. Marbury 18 Pts
NY:Z. Randolph 16 Reb
NY:S. Marbury 5 Ast
|Players of the Game|
|New York||Golden State|
|S. Jackson, SG||40||8-19||5-8||6||7||3||23|
|B. Davis, PG||39||11-20||5-7||6||7||1||31|
|K. Azubuike, SF||33||5-12||0-0||6||1||1||11|
|A. Biedrins, C||24||3-5||0-2||4||0||4||6|
|A. Harrington, PF||11||1-6||0-0||2||0||4||2|
|M. Pietrus, SF||30||6-8||4-6||6||2||3||16|
|M. Ellis, SG||26||3-7||3-4||2||4||3||9|
|A. Croshere, PF||15||2-2||0-0||1||0||1||5|
|D. Mbenga, C||10||1-3||0-0||1||0||3||2|
|M. Belinelli, SG||9||1-4||0-0||0||0||0||3|
|P. O'Bryant, C||3||0-0||0-0||0||0||1||0|
|T. Hudson, PG||Did Not Play|
|M. Barnes, SF||Did Not Play|
|K. Perovic, C||Did Not Play|
|B. Wright, SF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|S. Marbury, PG||38||6-14||5-5||6||5||4||18|
|J. Crawford, SG||36||6-13||0-1||4||3||2||15|
|Q. Richardson, SF||31||2-9||0-2||10||1||3||4|
|Z. Randolph, PF||30||5-12||5-5||16||1||3||15|
|E. Curry, C||26||5-10||2-6||3||1||2||12|
|D. Lee, PF||24||5-9||2-2||4||0||5||12|
|N. Robinson, PG||19||0-6||0-0||4||2||2||0|
|M. Collins, PG||17||0-2||0-0||2||1||3||0|
|F. Jones, SG||16||2-4||2-2||3||1||2||6|
|W. Chandler, SF||3||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0|
|M. Rose, PF||Did Not Play|
|J. James, PF||Did Not Play|
|J. Jeffries, PF||Did Not Play|
|R. Balkman, PF||Did Not Play|
|R. Morris, C||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|