KNICKS 112 NUGGETS 106 | MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
How it happened:
In a game of past meets present, Carmelo Anthony shut the door on his former team and lifted the Knicks to a 112-106 victory on Sunday night.
Anthony returned from a two-game absence and had to fight through pain in his middle finger as he continues to deal with a laceration he suffered in Charlotte on Wednesday night. The All-Star caught fire in the fourth quarter where he scored 11 of his game-high 34 points to maintain New York’s undefeated record at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks are the only team in the NBA with an unblemished home record at 8-0 and they improved to 15-5 overall.
To start the final stanza, Corey Brewer scored two straight buckets and the Nuggets grabbed an 88-80 lead with 11:05 remaining in the game. Steve Novak jumped off the pine and drilled consecutive treys followed by a Jason Kidd to Tyson Chandler alley-oop connection. These crucial plays were a part of a 12-0 run for New York over a four-minute span that helped the home squad seize control at 92-88.
Anthony buried a 3-pointer to push the lead to 97-90 and then he hit a somewhat poetic jumper over former Knicks small forward Danilo Gallinari. At that point, the Knicks built a late six-point lead while Denver seemed to run out of gas.
It took some time for New York to gain momentum, considering it finished a brutal stretch of four games in five nights. The Knicks defense was solid by holding Ty Lawson to just four points in the second half after he registered 19 in the first half of action.
J.R. Smith finished with 15 points and also hit a critical bucket against his former squad. The Nuggets double team collapsed on Anthony with 3:56 left on the game clock, which forced him to kick out to Smith on the perimeter. Smith nailed a big 3-pointer to increase the Knicks lead to 104-95.
For the former Nugget in a New York uniform, the win was gratifying, considering Anthony and the Knicks fell to Denver at MSG last season in the only meeting between the two teams.
Tyson Chandler added 15 points and grabbed 12 boards in the win, Jason Kidd posted 17 points in 34 minutes, and Novak finished with seven points.
“They had nothing to do with. I don’t have hard feelings towards Denver. It was one of those games where no matter how many runs we had they weren’t going anywhere. It is a matter of us, and me, not wanting to lose on our home court and protecting our home court. That is something we always believe in.” -- Carmelo Anthony
Anthony shook off the rust and adjusted his game in the second half to carry the offensive load for New York. He hit 10-of-24 from the field and more importantly, 11-of-16 at the charity stripe. The reigning NBA Player of the Week certainly is a sight for sore eyes as the Knicks will rely on his playmaking abilities in the next Eastern Conference battle on the horizon.
The Knicks surrendered 62 points in the paint but they made it up at the 3-point line. New York connected on 12 shots from downtown and improved to 12-12 on the season when hitting 10 or more triples this season.
After playing four games in five nights, the Knicks will rest on Monday to prepare for a rematch against the Nets in Brooklyn on Tuesday night.