Never Close — March 23, 2019: Denver 111 NY 93

This one was never close. The Denver Nuggets CLUBBED the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on a Friday night. And still Knick fans were happy. We lost — so keep our #1 lottery-odds positioning, and Mitchell Robinson had another great game. Kevin Knox looked good most of the night, and Frank Ntilikina was back from the extended injury, and played ok.

The 3’s

Denver jumped out to a 16-pt lead in the first quarter by hitting their 3’s, while the Knicks didn’t hit their 3’s. From there, Denver essentially coasted. Knicks were down by 4, then a couple of Emmanuel Mudiay turnovers, a couple of Denver 3’s and just like that it was 23-9 Denver. By midway thru the second quarter this was the story:

  • Knicks 2-13 from 3
  • Denver 7-17 from 3
  • Difference was 15 pts
  • Knicks were down by 16, 45-29

The 3 is an area where the Knicks are definitely behind other NBA teams in talent. The Knicks have Kevin Knox who can hit the 3. Allonzo Trier can hit a 3 but he was out injured for the second straight game.

There are a lot of guys on the Knicks who can’t hit a 3 with any regularity, or are streaky. Damyean Dotson can hit a 3, but can have off nights. This was an off night — he was 1-7 from 3 (2 for 9 overall) for 6 pts. Kadeem Allen also shot poorly (1-7, 3 pts).

Emmanuel Mudiay is just under 33% on the season — he had a decent shooting night — 9-21 (2-5 from 3) 21 pts, 7 rebounds, 4 assists. He attacks attacks attacks the basket. But he can turn the ball over on some stupid passes.

Kevin Knox has that Money 3 off the pass with no hesitation. It is pretty and accurate. That’s where his game is at. Knox still has a habit of being driven off the drive and tossing up a floater while running away from the basket out of bounds. Knox finished 6-16, 3-8 from 3 for 19 pts. Here was Knox off the pass after one of several unforced Denver turnovers in the lane due to Robinson’s presence:

And then there was Ntilikina — Ntilikina looked decent tonite; his defense was pretty good; he was active in attacking with the ball — didn’t quite drive into the paint but went around the baseline at one point; and distributed. He had 5 assists in 25 min. Good. But .. you know 1-6 (1-4 from 3) for 5 pts.

Mercedes Mitch

Mitchell Robinson had another terrific night — 16 points (7-10), 10 rebounds, 3 blocks in 23 minutes and his presence caused several Denver unforced turnovers in the lane — leading to fastbreaks the other way — one leading to a Knox 3.

This was the play of the night:

There were other Robinson highlights — like every play is a highlight:

Other Knicks

DeAndre Jordan added 7 pts, Mario Hezonja 7 pts, Lance Thomas 3 pts, Henry Ellenson 3 pts, John Jenkins 3 pts, and Luke Kornet didn’t score. Dennis Smith Jr and Noah Vonleh continued to be injured.

For Denver

Denver finished 15-38 from 3 for 39.5%; Knicks closed to 9-32 for 28%.  Nikola Jokic (8-20) played effortlessly well; he had 21 pts, 17 rebounds, 5 assists

Paul Millsap 3-12 for 8 pts, Jamal Murray was 7-16 for 18 pts, Will Barton 4-13 for 12 pts, Gary Harris was 4-5 from 3 (5-8 overall) for 14 pts. Mason Plumlee put a body on the Knicks and was 4-6 for 11 pts. Juan Hernangomez was first man off Denver’s bench — 0 pts in 7 minutes.

Again — you look at the Denver team and you aren’t blown away by the talent in the boxscore. But they are well coached, they pass well and hit their 3’s.

The Boxscore:

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