Post Game Recap
Final Score: Nuggets: 106 Knicks: 112
In his first game back after a two game absence, Carmelo Anthony returned to the court, helping the Knicks back into the win column. With the victory, the Knicks continued their home winning streak, winning all their home games thus far this season. Under Mike Woodson, the Knicks are 19-1 at home in the regular season. Also, the Knicks continued an amazing stretch in which they have only lost back-to-back games in the regular season only once.
Anthony struggled early, but got his shot going when the Knicks needed it most; Anthony missed 12 of his first 17 shots. The fourth quarter Anthony finished strong, going five of seven and scoring nine key points as the Knicks were able to hold off a scrappy Nuggets squad. Anthony finished with 34 points and six rebounds, going 10 of 24 from the field and 11 of 16 from the foul line. Anthony showed tonight how much he really means to this Knicks team and how much a team can benefit from having a superstar to close out games.
The ball security was at a premium for the Knicks coming into the game, as the Nuggets thrive in the open court and on fast breaks. The Knicks were able to limit those opportunities by turning the ball over only nine times. When the Knicks turn the ball over 12 times or less, they are now 13-0; but when they turn it over 13 times or more they are 2-5. The Knicks shot poorly from the field, at only 43 percent, but was able to make up for that by not turning the ball over.
The Nuggets came into the game as one of the top rebounding teams in the NBA with players like Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee in the middle. Without Rasheed Wallace tonight and Marcus Camby, the Knicks were dangerously thin up front with only Tyson Chandler and Kurt Thomas, equaling a potentially disastrous situation on the boards. The Knicks weren’t having any of that though, as they were outrebounded by the Nuggets by only one, 40-39, thanks to a dominant performance by Chandler with a game high 12 and a surprising nine from J.R. Smith
Jason Kidd was amazing for the Knicks tonight, showing that age is just a number once again. As Alan Hahn has said plenty of times, Kidd’s body is 39 years old but his hands are still 24. Kidd was instrumental in the Knicks coming back tonight and holding onto the lead. He made timely baskets and led the Knicks with seven assists. The Knicks look much better on the court when Kidd plays.
Chandler continued his spirited play Sunday night, playing with tenacity and energy knowing the Knicks really needed him with Wallace and Camby both sitting out; he responded with another double-double, his eighth of the season. Chandler finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks, changing the Nuggets shots on numerous occasions.
The Knicks struggled from the free throw line tonight, but thankfully it did not hurt them at the end. Even when struggling from the line, going 36 for 27, they made more free throws than the Nuggets, who went 21 for 29. If the Knicks had knocked down more free throws, the end of the game would not have been so close and in question. Five of the misses came from Anthony in the first half before he got going and into the flow of the game.
The Knicks got pounded in the paint tonight also, as Chandler was the only big man along with Thomas the Knicks had to employ tonight. The Knicks were able to keep the Nuggets off the boards pretty efficiently, but they allowed the Nuggets to live in the paint; they scored 62 points in the paint, compared to only 32 for the Knicks.
The Knicks were able to pull the game out night, but it should not have been this close. The combination of poor defense (the Nuggets shot 55.6 percent from the field) and poor shooting (43.0 percent from the field for the Knicks) goes together like oil and vinegar. Nonetheless, the Knicks scored when they needed to and got the stops that were necessary in picking up the victory tonight.
Next up for the Knicks is round two in the Battle of the Boroughs as the Knicks head to Brooklyn to take on the Nets Tuesday night and will look to exact some revenge from the loss earlier in the season the Nets handed them.