Game Notes: Knicks at Nuggets
Nuggets edge past the Knicks.
by Sulaiman Folarin
DENVER, CO – The New York Knicks were looking to end their five-game losing streak in Denver against the Nuggets. It was also an opportunity for Carmelo Anthony to get a glimpse at one of the teams he was rumored to be heading to.
Unfortunately for New York, that losing streak continued as Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points with an emotional blowup in the closing minutes as Denver got a slim win over New York, 120-118, Tuesday night.
“It was a happy win, we put ourselves in a good place,” says Nuggets head coach George Karl. “We still need to clean up our problems and develop better habits, but there were a lot of positives tonight.”
Coming off back-to-back games, where closing out the Phoenix Suns on Monday was difficult for the Nuggets, Denver almost lost at home in a similar fashion to their road loss in Arizona.
“I’m just glad we got the win,” Anthony said. “I can’t really pinpoint it, tonight was almost a similar situation [as Phoenix].”
The Nuggets led by 16 points early, but the Knicks were stubborn and never gave up as they cut Denver’s lead in the fourth quarter to 109-107 with about three minutes left in the game.
The game started slowly with the referee’s constantly blowing the whistle and both teams picking up technical fouls due to defensive three second calls. A close first quarter tied at 26, Denver started pulling away in the second.
Al Harrington drove the second quarter’s 7-0 run with three straight baskets to push the lead to 40-31 with 8:32 left. The Nuggets played great defense also forcing Amar’e Stoudemire, Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler to shoot jump shots, which they all missed.
Harrington’s 22 points against his former team was crucial for Denver, because those were numbers that came off the bench. Though he fouled out of the game, he was focused on getting a win against a team he played for last season.
“It was very important to me. I said the sweetest way to get revenge is a win,” Harrington said. “I am happy our team was able to pull it out tonight.”
Stoudemire’s team-high 24 points and 6 rebounds along with Chandler’s 23 points off the bench were troubling for the Nuggets. Denver also had trouble defending Gallinari, Raymond Felton and Landry Fields.
All those players scored in double figures for the Knicks.
“Our guys kept playing hard. We went small and caused a little problem for them and started making shots,” Knick coach Mike D’Antoni said. “In the first quarter we couldn’t make a shot and the second half we started doing better.”
The second and third quarter was dominated by Denver and they seemed to get complacent in the fourth after taking a comfortable lead over New York. It was similar to their loss the night before where they blew a decent lead in the fourth quarter to Phoenix.
“If the coach feels that once we got up we started relaxing, then we have to do a better job at that,” said Anthony about the fourth quarter.
The Knicks outscored Denver 36-26; the only quarter they led the entire game, but thought it looked ugly for Denver, it was still a win.
“Well a win is a win,” Harrington said. “Ugly or pretty, I will take 82 ugly wins and 16 more in the Playoffs.”
Gallinari chipped-in 6 of his game total 21 points, but they were not enough to stop the bleeding. Stoudemire and Felton both added 7 points each, but the Nuggets held on.
The New York media barely talked about the game, but more about the extension with the Nuggets or Anthony possibility becoming a Knicks player by the trade deadline or next season. Apparently before the game, Stoudemire had lobbied for Anthony to become a Knicks player.
Anthony replied “Did he? Amar’e is crazy,” jokingly.
Anthony visits New York in a couple of weeks, on December 12, and one should expect mayhem; similar to LeBron James’ visit.
When the New York media kept on about his future, one reporter of the Denver media asked Melo how he slept at night knowing he had a $65 million extension on the table. “I sleep good at night… it’s not all about the money,” Melo said.