This game was a tale of two halves. Denver outscored the Knicks, 67-51, in the 1st Half. The Nuggets had 7 players score 7 or more points in the 1st Half. New York only had 3. The Knicks issues came from their 9 turnovers, shooting 4-15 (26.7%) from three, and allowing Denver to shoot 56.9% from the floor. The 3rd Quarter was a completely different story. The Knicks outscored the Nuggets 33-20, cutting Denver’s lead to 3. Marcus Morris Sr. went on a rampage, scoring 16 points in the quarter! In the 3rd, New York only committed 1 turnover, shot 63.6% from the floor (50% from three), and held the Nuggets to shoot 29.2% from the field. The 4th Quarter was a defensive battle. Although the Knicks took a 5 point lead with 7:11 remaining, Denver prevailed to win by 6. The Nuggets outscored the Knicks 24-21 in the final quarter, playing unrelenting defense. The Knicks shot 29.6% from the floor and 1-11 (9.1%) from three, in the quarter. They only scored 5 points in the last 5:57 of the game. New York’s fantastic defense in the 2nd Half, just wasn’t enough to overcome their poor shooting and pull out a victory.
Denver was led by Nikola Jokic (25 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists), Will Barton (16 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists) and Mason Plumlee (14 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists). The Knicks had a lot of bright spots in this game, especially from their two point guards. Frank Ntilikina racked up 13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals. He was crucial in the Knicks comeback, leading the team with a plus-minus of +10. Elfrid Payton continued to play great basketball in this one, tallying 10 points, 11 assists, and 7 rebounds, in just 25 minutes of action. Payton did shoot a poor 5-13 (38.5%), from the field though. Per usual, New York’s two leading scorers were veterans, Marcus Morris Sr. (22 points) and Julius Randle (20 points). Kevin Knox had a nice game, scoring 10 points and grabbing 4 rebounds. RJ Barrett was the biggest disappointment of the evening, scoring 7 points on 3-12 (25%) shooting, while only picking up 3 rebounds and an assist.
Why The Knicks Lost
The Knicks lost this game due to their lack of ball security and defense in the 1st Half, coupled with a poor shooting night from three (excluding the 3rd Quarter). They commited 9 of their 11 turnovers and surrendered 67 of the Nuggets 111 points in the 1st half. New York finished the night shooting 8-32 (25%) from three and if you exclude the 3rd Quarter, they shot 5-26 (19.2%) from three. New York’s scoring down the stretch is also a concern, as they have relied heavily on isolations (generating very few open looks and points) in the final few minutes of their last several games.
The Knicks have been competing hard on both ends of the court lately and the results are showing it. They won two straight games and then put themselves in a position to beat a very good, Denver Nuggets team. Their strengths have been gritty defense and limiting their turnovers. However, the Knicks are still struggling to shoot three-pointers at a high percentage, shooting 17-62 (27.4%), in their past two games. The Knicks will have a strong chance at winning their next contest, facing the Atlanta Hawks (6-21).