New York Knicks at Denver Nuggets
Game 27: December 17, 2016
Nuggets 127, Knicks 114
Written by Eric Weinstein – @ericcweinsteinn
So much for that promising road trip.
The Knicks concluded the west coast swing in Denver, Colorado tonight to and met the Nuggets at Pepsi Center. Hoping to finish this trip on a positive note, the Knicks did quite the opposite and dropped this game to the Nuggets, 127-114. New York looked like they had been away from home for five games, as the Nuggets came out with more energy from the get-go.
Carmelo Anthony returned after his one game absence to lead the Knicks with 29 points against his former team. Kristaps Porzingis scored 22 points along with 7 rebounds. The Nuggets were led by 25 points on 10-11 shooting by Kenneth Faried who looked as if he had been shot out of a cannon all night. Emmanuel Mudiay went for 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Takeaways from this game:
No defense at all, really 127 points to the Denver Nuggets. 127 points. The Nuggets are a talented young team with proven scorers like Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler, who we know pretty well, along with young guns like Mudiay, Gary Harris, Will Barton. These guys basically ran around all night and got exactly what they wanted from anywhere on the court, whether it was layups, put backs off offensive rebounds, or three pointers. The Knicks were either gassed from this road trip or just didn’t seem interested at all in playing defense. I hope it’s the former of those two. Denver finished shooting 55 percent from the field, and outscored the Knicks in the paint, 68-32. If you let another NBA team dominate you like that, not to mention give up 127 points, it’s going to be almost impossible for your team to win. You don’t need me to tell you that, I don’t think.
After winning the first two games of this road trip, everyone in Knicks world was feeling pretty good about this team. After dropping the next three, how quickly we all turn. This team is still 14-13, and in the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. Granted, they should have beaten lesser teams like the Nuggets and Phoenix Suns, but anybody can win on any given night in the NBA.
Do I think this team can be a top 5 seed in the Eastern Conference based on what we’ve seen so far? Absolutely, but they’ll need Derrick Rose to get healthy, even if that means having him out another game or two. Whatever it takes to make sure he is 100 percent healthy. They also can’t take off any nights on defense, which has been a problem for New York. For Joakim Noah to be making all the money that he is, and I won’t get into that, he NEEDS to play better on the defensive end. He’s been a turnstile in the lane for opposing players, and he needs to at least put a body on these guys. No layups.
The Knicks get to play a home game for the first time in what feels like forever on Tuesday against Paul George and the Indiana Pacers. This is an important game standings wise for New York, with Indiana trailing the Knicks in the conference standings. The Knicks will have a full two days to recover from the trip and get back to their winning ways at home. This is just a bump in the road, not a cause for panic. 14-13.