The Knicks gave up a whopping 83 first-half points on the second night of a back-to-back to an appreciative Nuggets squad.
The Denver Nuggets (30-24) defeated the New York Knicks (24-31), on the second night of a back-to-back, by a final score of 132-115 on Tuesday in Colorado. For Denver, Nikola Jokic finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists, while Aaron Gordon had 19 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. For New York, Julius Randle had 28 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists, while Evan Fournier had 21 points and seven rebounds. With the loss, New York has lost eight of their last 10 games.
There were two things that remain implanted in my head from this game: The number of open threes Denver got in this game and MSG Network’s Mike Breen continuously mentioning how many times the Knicks got within 15 points.
Offensively, I can’t complain about the Knicks tonight, for they actually looked good. The ball movement was better than normal and Julius Randle looked good out there—finding proper balance between his offense and generating shot for others. For a moment in time, it looked like New York would be able to hang with Denver.
But that Nuggets offense went insane. It started with Jokic with some impressive seals and finishes over Taj Gibson, before finding some teammates for open threes. Then, Aaron Gordon followed suit with a couple of impressive finishes and threes to open the game up for the Nuggets. Denver’s outside shot was a true x-factor for them as New York couldn’t maintain the shooting stretch from three by the Nuggets.
Before you knew it, a small four-point lead from Denver ballooned to 15 points, then 25 points. New York continued to push back with small slices into their lead, but every time the Knicks put together a stretch of success, Denver would respond with either a timely offensive rebound or backbreaking three. Each of Gordon, Will Barton, and rookie Bones Hyland made three three-pointers.
Let’s get to notes.
- Immanuel Quickley’s stats won’t blow you away, but I came away impressed with how he handled point guard in the second half. Looked good attacking Denver’s defense and kept the pressure on. He’s in the midst of a rough patch, but I still think he can play on the ball and be a positive contributor.
- Julius Randle was active throughout the night and did an excellent job of maintaining composure, even as the game got away from the Knicks. We need to see this, even on nights when his shot is not falling.
- Kemba Walker and Taj Gibson started today and I couldn’t be more over it. Walker played 22 minutes and went 1-of-6 from the floor. Gibson played with energy, but Nikola Jokic ate him alive whenever he wanted to score. Those minutes should be going to Quickley and Obi Toppin.
- Cam Reddish has to get it together. It’s tough to find a rhythm when you’re out of the rotation, but terrible shooting when he’s on the floor and poor defense. He should be playing regardless, but he has to find some balance in order to even crack Thibodeau’s rotation because his current play just isn’t it.
- RJ Barrett (18 points on 19 shots) was in the game in the last minute of a 15-point deficit and turned his ankle. He left with roughly 30 seconds remaining logging 35 minutes on the second night of a back-to-back and the third game in four nights in a noncompetitive contest. It’ll be something to monitor in the next day.
The Knicks travel to the Chase Center in San Francisco, California, to face the Golden State Warriors (41-13) on Thursday, February 10th. Tip-off is set for 10 p.m. ET.