Knicks drop bellow .500 in ugly home loss to Denver
The New York Knicks trailed by as many as 30 points early in the fourth and eventually fell 113-99 to the Denver Nuggets, at home, dropping bellow .500 for the first time since April 2nd 2021 when they also recorded their last three game losing streak.
Yesterday’s early afternoon game was one of the worst since the hiring of Tom Thibodeau as the Knicks were simply unable to close-up on Nuggets’ shooters who fired at will uncontested.
The Knicks trailed by 5 at the end of the first and by 11 at halftime. In the third quarter they managed to cut the lead 69-63 after a three pointer by Alec Burks but were outscored 23-3 in the next six and a half minutes. Nikola Jokic’s three that made it a 21 point game frustrated the Garden as boos poured from the crowd.
Julius Randle was the most consistent Knick; he finished with 24 points, shot 9-18 from the field, grabbed 7 boards and dished out 8 assists but the rest of the team disappointed.
Thumbs up for Derrick Rose and Obi Toppin who also had decent performances coming off the bench. Rose had 11 points shooting 50% while Toppin scored 7 including a three pointer and grabbed 8 boards. Toppin also missed an alley-oop with 3:28 left to play but the Nuggets were already up by 20 points by then.
“I say it all year, I’ll continue to say it: We’re going to win games with our defense. That’s who we are.”
– Julius Randle
Unfortunately, defense was nowhere to be found. Mitchell Robinson posed absolutely no threat for last year’s MVP who scored whenever he wanted, however he wanted. Nikola Jokic dropped a game high 32 points, shot 14-19 from the field, made three shots from long distance and dominated the boards with 11 rebounds. His shooting inside the arc was close to perfection missing only one shot. Robinson on the other game finished with just four points and six rebounds.
“The way we’re playing at home, that’s the disappointing part. When you have an MVP-type player, we can’t start the game the way we did. We have to get our edge back defensively. We got into it together. We go to get out of it together.”
– Tom Thibodeau
The Nuggets got huge support from their draft picks as well. Zeke Nnaji, a 20 year old first round pick dropped 21 points off the bench and also sacked 8 boards. Veteran Jeff Green finished with 11 points and a huge block on Immanuel Quickley‘s fastbreak layup attempt late in the third quarter.
RJ Barrett scored 7 of his 13 points in the first quarter and was benched throughout the entire fourth quarter. Quentin Grimes was preferred in the final act, the rookie going 2-4 from behind the arc to finish with 6 points.
“I think we’re at a point in the season where we just are trying to figure it out, trying to figure out who we’re gonna be, what we’re gonna do every night. And whoever it is, whoever we’re gonna be, we gotta figure that out quick and just make sure we stick to it and win some games.”
– RJ Barrett
The Knicks outscored the Nuggets 28-21 in the fourth quarter but most of their points came in garbage time when the fate was already decided. They shot just 39.8% from the field and had 12 more free throws (17) than Denver did (5). However, the Nuggets shot 52.4% from the field.
Up-next: The Knicks (11-12) travel to Texas to take on the San Antonio Spurs (8-13) on Tuesday night at 8:30pm.