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Nuggets blow out Knicks, now on a two-game winning streak for second time this season

T.J. McBride Avatar
December 18, 2016

 

DENVER — The Denver Nuggets started fast and finished strong to beat the New York Knicks 127-114 on a cold Saturday night in Denver. With the win, the Nuggets have started their second winning streak of the season and look to be firing on all cylinders.

The first quarter was the Nikola Jokic show. His impact on the starting unit cannot be understated and it seems that his confidence has skyrocketed since returning to his deserved starting role.

By the end of the first, Jokic had already accumulated four points, five rebounds, and five assists but had two silly fouls in the backcourt that limited his playing time. He finished the night with 10 points, nine rebounds, and five assists in just 20 minutes due to his five fouls. Denver’s new starting lineup came out strong and the Nuggets led 33-22 after the first quarter.

“It is really funny because before the game I said I think that everyone is starting to think that just because we made a lineup change that we are going to score 132 every night….and we come out and get 127.” Malone continued, “I like what I see but by no means am I happy on the farm thinking that we have it all figured out now.”

Denver’s defense continued to suffocate the Knicks but the fouls began to rack up and ended with the Knicks outscoring the Nuggets by 10 points from the charity stripe. Emmanuel Mudiay and Danilo Gallinari, who finished with 13 points, paced the Nuggets along with the well-rounded play of Jokic to take a lead of 62-54 into halftime.

The Nuggets came out lackadaisical and unfocused to start the second half and allowed the Carmelo Anthony-led Knicks to crawl back into within single digits. Mudiay kept on the gas behind his best offensive showing of the season but Denver continued to foul and Carmelo Anthony continued hitting jumper after jumper. Anthony finished with 29 points on 14 shots.

Denver’s defense faltered but their offense continued to prosper. The ball was moving effortlessly and Kenneth Faried was reaping the benefits by getting multiple wide open dunks. The Nuggets stayed on the gas and pushed a single digit lead to 16, highlighted by an absolutely ridiculous Gary Harris dunk in transition, and the Nuggets went into the final frame of play up 96-80.

“If Portland loses tonight we will be one game out of the playoffs. If you want to be a playoff team you have to win at home.”

Denver finished the game as they started it; with aggression. Mudiay continued to score at will while Faried’s energy resulted in multiple easy baskets. Faried finished with a season-high 25 points. The Nuggets get a needed win at home and are now one game out of the loss column for the eight seed in the West.

FOOTNOTES

Derrick Rose (back spasms) was ruled out of the matchup with the Nuggets with a back injury. Carmelo Anthony (shoulder) was available and started the game.

The Nuggets were fully healthy for the second straight game but Nelson ended up leaving the game with a jaw contusion and did not return.

WHERE/WHEN

Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado | December 17, 2016

NUGGETS STAR OF THE GAME

Mudiay had his best performance of the season and did so without turning the ball over. Mudiay finished with 25 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and just two turnovers while shooting 10-15 from the field.

“Emmanuel was aggressive tonight. When he is rebounding, he’s playmaking, he’s getting to the rim, he is a terrific point guard and obviously we saw that tonight.”

BY THE NUMBERS

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PLAYS OF THE GAME

Chandler nails the three-pointer off of a no-look pass from Jokic.

Jokic with the gorgeous lob to Faried for the dunk.

Murray with the great block.

Gallinari with the step back three-pointer.

Mudiay with the transition dunk.

Harris with the vicious one-handed slam in transition.

WHATS NEXT

The Nuggets look to finish their three-game home stand with a win and extract some revenge against the Dallas Mavericks, who demolished the Nuggets less than a week ago.

“We have Dallas coming in here and we owe them. We had one of our worst games of the year in Dallas so it would be great to end this three game home stand with a win but also get that game back that we gave away in Dallas.”

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