NUGGETS 119 KNICKS 114 F 2OT | MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
How it happened:
A dramatic double overtime contest at Madison Square Garden unfolded in front of the New York crowd on Saturday night. After battling back to force the first overtime, the Knicks could not hold maintain their lead in the second extra period and fell 119-114 to the Nuggets.
Facing a six-point deficit with just 2:53 remaining in the fourth quarter, Carmelo Anthony came alive after struggling for a majority of the contest. Anthony found some driving space in the lane and connected on several close buckets near the rim, especially a driving layup past Nene to cut the Denver lead to 97-96 with 8.5 seconds on the game clock. Against his former team, Anthony drilled a fadeaway jumper despite the double-team and sent the game into overtime at 98-98.
With 2:24 in the first overtime session, the Knicks All-Star drilled a wide open three-pointer off a failed defensive rotation from the Nuggets. This bucket provided a 103-100 cushion for New York. Then, a loose ball bounced back to Andre Miller and he sent shock waves throughout the Garden with a deep shot beyond the arc to tie the game at 103-103. Anthony missed a long bomb of his own on the opposite side that would have sealed the deal for the Knicks and the rebound created a high bounce and Tyson Chandler committed his sixth foul on Nene. The Nuggets big man sunk both free throws to extend the game for another five-minute session.
Toney Douglas netted a three-pointer at the 3:31 mark of the second overtime to give New York a 108-107 lead. Denver small forward and former Knicks Danilo Gallinari took over with nine of his 14 points in the session. Gallinari completed a crucial old fashioned three-point play, giving the Nuggets a 110-109 edge. Anthony scored on a jumper over Miller with the Knicks tasting their last lead at 111-110 but Gallinari hit two free throws and Ty Lawson found an open Al Harrington for the three-point dagger with 37.8 seconds left and a Denver 115-111 lead.
Powered by Gallinari’s game-high 37 points, the Nuggets improved to 12-5 on the season. Anthony scored 20 of his team-high 25 points in the second half and overtime periods. Iman Shumpert and Landry Fields added 18 points apiece while Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Chandler all registered double-digit rebounds.
“We did a great job in the first half. In the second quarter, we did a phenomenal job of moving the ball. Billy [Walker] came off the bench and played great. If we keep that whole momentum and activity going for a whole game we will win some games.” -- Amar’e Stoudemire
Anthony was tremendous in the late stages during a difficult shooting night and battling ankle and wrist injuries. The circumstances surrounding the game placed a ton of pressure on the former Nuggets star. The play from Bill Walker (15 points), Fields (8-of-14 from the floor), Toney Douglas (11 points) and Shumpert (two steals) were a major factor in the improved play for New York. This balanced scoring production is what the Knicks coaching staff is searching for to eventually reverse the losing skid.
Shumpert played a smart pace on Saturday night against one of the fastest point guards in the league. He held Ty Lawson to just three first half points while scoring 11 of his 18 in the first two quarters. Shumpert was efficient from the floor by hitting 7-of-16 shots to go along with seven dimes in the defeat. The rookie was not in the lineup during the late stages of the second overtime. Head coach Mike D’Antoni was unsure of the exact reason, whether Shumpert was suffering from cramps or a back issue.
The Knicks will have the day off on Sunday before returning to the practice floor on Monday. Following the practice session in New York, the team will jump on a plane for Charlotte and begin a four-game road trip over the course of the next week.