Written by William Lee
Friday night’s game between the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks was a very competitive game to start, with both teams going back and forth. New York took an early 8-2 lead behind a hot start from Carmelo Anthony, who made his first six shots. Denver would turn it around with defense, forcing the Knicks into eight turnovers in the first quarter. New York, who is best in the league at minimizing turnovers at 12.8 per game, was out of character Friday night. Iman Shumpert had four turnovers in less than seven minutes by himself! The defense propelled the Nuggets to go on a 12-0 run to get a double digit lead 24-14 with 1:48 left in the game.
In the second quarter, the script completely flipped, it was the Knicks defense that starting causing havoc, and getting the Nuggets to turnover. Denver had 11 turnovers in the second quarter, 7/8 of the players that played in the quarter all recorded at least one turnover. This helped give New York ten more possessions in the quarter than Denver.
Pablo Prigioni and Amare Stoudemire were especially effective, when all the starters were resting in the beginning of the second quarter. They got New York back in the game, and when the starters came back in they effectively ended the quarter well, going on a 13-2 run to end the first half to give the Knicks a 50-44 lead. Prigioni didn’t score a point in the game, but effected the games in other areas, with six assist and four steals. Stoudemire scored 17 points and grabbed 8 rebounds off the bench in 20 minutes of play.
In the third quarter, everything went well for the Knicks, including the play that gave them a double digit lead. Carmelo Anthony missed badly on a three-point attempt, but Tyson Chandler was fortunate enough to be around the ball, and just lays it back in to give the Knicks a 59-48 lead with 9:04 left in the third quarter. That was the lone offensive rebound in the quarter, but not much was needed, as the Knicks almost made 2/3 of their shot attempts in the period. A blow out was in full effect by the end of the third quarter with the score 83-68, and no Knicks’ starters would be reinserted back into the lineup in the fourth quarter.
New York had a great team victory, winning 117-90 with six players in double figures scoring. Carmelo Anthony led the way with 31 points in 32 minutes of play. Anthony had plenty of help as the Knicks’ bench scored 60 points in the game. New York’s frontline was impressive against the small Nugget’s frontline, Tyson Chandler was doing typical Tyson Chandler things, Amare Stoudemire looked like he turned back the clock, back to his Phoenix Suns days, but it was Jeremy Tyler, who looked especially impressive with his 12 and 11 double-double. Tyler had a sweet highlight play as well, deflecting the ball on defense, getting the ball out on the fast break, and eluded a defender with a spin move for an easy score, all this from a 6’ 10” 250 lb 22 year old.
What is most impressive was that New York’s defense forced Denver to shoot 42.1% from the field, and turn the ball over 23 times. New York will have a tough task ahead as they go to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunders in a matinée game Sunday afternoon. It will feature a match-up between the Conference Players of the Month in January, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony. New York struggle mightily in matinee games this season, with a record of 1-5, with all the losses in blow out fashion. New York looks to buck that trend Sunday afternoon.