The Final Straw? — Dec 5, 2019: Denver 129 NY 92

The Knicks were routed from their own Madison Square Garden floor — their second straight 30-point-plus loss — this time by the Denver Nuggets who rained 3-pointers on the Knicks all night. Scores of people left for the exits in the 3rd quarter. The Knicks as a team seemed to give up. New York is now 4-18, the laughing stock of the NBA, prompting many on Knicks Twitter to speculate that this was the final straw for head coach David Fizdale.

Denver Strategy — Attack from 3

Frank Ntilikina (3-5 for 9 points) and Marcus Morris (4-13 for 10 pts) were back from injury and in the starting lineup. And the starters started off the game well — the Knicks played strong in the 1st quarter to get out to an 18-12 lead. But the Nuggets started executing their plan — which was to attack the Knicks from 3-pt range. After the game, a Nugget said that they knew going in the Knicks were a good defensive team at guarding the paint, so the strategy was to pass along the perimeter and attack from 3. And that’s what they did.

When the Knick reserves came in late in the 1st quarter (Kevin Knox, Bobby Portis, Dennis Smith Jr), the game changed as Denver started executing their plan.

Knicks Don’t Put a Priority on Guarding the 3

The Knicks have their latest in a string of coaches who have put guarding the paint at a higher priority than guarding the 3. Jeff Hornacek believed that; Derek Fisher believed that; Mike Woodson believed that; certainly Mike D’Antoni didn’t have the Knicks guarding the 3. It is an amazing run of coaches who places guarding the 3 as a secondary priority.

Denver set their season high by hitting 21 three-pointers — they were 21-39 from 3. Will Barton was 4-4, Gary Harris was 2-2, Jerami Grant 3-5, Juan Hernangómez 4-8, and on and on.

Lone Bright Spot

For the Knicks Mitchell Robinson had a good game — 6-8 from the floor for 17 points and no fouls in 30 minutes. Even in the blowout his high motor on the offensive and defensive ends stood out.


RJ Barrett (4-10 for 9 pts) and Taj Gibson (2-3, 4 pts) played ok.

Damyean Dotson dislocated his pinky finger on a play early in the 1st half; left the game and therefore only got 4 minutes. Despite that (opening up playing time for other guards), and despite the blowout opening up lots of garbage time, Allonzo Trier only got 6 minutes — despite going 2-3 for 6 points. Lots of ‘despite’s there.

Elfrid Payton was back and played 11 minutes, scoring 4 pts.

The Boxscore



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