NUGGETS 117 KNICKS 94 | PEPSI CENTER
How it happened:
The trip to the Mile High City turned into an uphill battle all night for the visiting Knicks. Carmelo Anthony’s former team spoiled his first return to Denver in a 117-94 victory for the Nuggets.
New York managed to stay within striking distance and only trailed by five points heading into the second quarter. However, in similar fashion to Monday evening in Golden State, the Knicks offense stalled in the second period while Denver outscored the road squad 33-16. The Nuggets built a 64-42 lead and waltzed into the locker room with confidence behind Danil Gallinari’s 14 points and a combined 26 points from the bench.
Adding injury to insult, Corey Brewer backed into Tyson Chandler late in the second frame and Chandler’s knee buckled. The Knicks center was helped to the locker room, did not return, and was listed with a left knee contusion.
Anthony joined Chandler in the locker room when he left five minutes into the third period. The Knicks All-Star has been dealing with knee soreness for a couple of weeks and returned to the floor on Monday night after missing three games.
In 22 minutes of action, Anthony scored nine points on 3-of-12 shooting from the floor.
The 17-0 run that carried over from the end of the first quarter to the second period created the significant gap between the two teams. Denver’s high voltage offense started to gain steam in the open floor as they rank No. 2 in the league in pace of play. The Nuggets also reached the charity stripe 24 times in the first half as opposed to New York’s four trips – all by Anthony.
Gallinari finished with a team-high 16 points, Andre Iguodala posted 14 points, six assists, and six rebounds. On the opposite side, Iman Shumpert dropped 20 points and J.R. Smith added 15 off the pine.
Denver entered the contest on fire by winning 19 of its last 23 games. The Knicks dropped to 38-24 and will continue the strenuous west coast road trip in Portland, Los Angeles, and Utah on Monday night.
Knick of the Night:
The bright spot for the Knicks was the encouraging performance from Shumpert. In 33 minutes, the shooting guard hit 8-of-10 shots from the floor, including an impressive 4-of-5 behind the arc for 20 points.
Denver scored 62 points and attempted 37 free throws to go along with 53 rebounds and 18 on the offensive glass.
The Knicks will head to the Northwest for the second of a back-to-back against the Blazers on Thursday night.