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Recap: Denver Nuggets hold off the New York Knicks

NBA: New York Knicks at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks got their game started with neither side looking to play a ton of defense early on as the two sides were tied at 14 less than five minutes into the game. The Knicks were 5-of-8 from 3-point range midway through the first quarter, and they were scoring at will against the Nuggets. Denver was shooting well, but they weren’t hitting from outside which is where New York was maintaining their advantage. The Knicks were leading 36-33 with 90 seconds remaining in the first quarter when Nikola Jokic went to the bench thanks to a hot start from downtown. A couple of late triples from Bones Hyland and JaMychal Green helped them gain the lead heading into the second quarter ahead 40-36.

After starting the second quarter a bit slow, the second unit for the Nuggets started pouring in the points against the Knicks’ backups. They quickly stretched the lead up to 17 just five minutes into the second period to go up 61-44. The Knicks briefly were within 19 before Aaron Gordon drilled a triple from the corner following a wide-open miss by Julius Randle on a transition layup. Denver stayed hot on offense, and they were continuing to add to that lead and had put up their most points, with 79, in a first half this season with 1:38 remaining in the half. The Knicks had again gotten it to a 19-point difference, but Denver was maintaining the large gap as they went into the half leading 83-60 while shooting a blistering 63.8 percent from the floor and 52.9 percent from 3-point range.

Similar to the second quarter, the Nuggets started out a little slow, but they quickly picked things up to maintain their large lead. The Knicks got feisty around the midway point of the third quarter to make it a 20-point game, but they still had a long way to complete the huge comeback. With 3:35 to go in the quarter, the Nuggets had a few sloppy possessions end with no points and quick points for New York, and the Knicks were within 15. Denver wasn’t able to get back up to 20 before the end of the period, but they were leading 111-94 heading into the final quarter.

Rather than trying to give their starters some rest, Denver decided to make it a close game, and the Knicks were gradually chipping away over the first half of the final period. They eventually got within 13 around the 6:00 minute mark which prompted Michael Malone to get his starters back in the game to try and put the game away. Put the game away they did thanks to some slick scoring from Will Barton who got up to 20 points on the night, which gave Denver four players with 20 or more points on the night. Over the final minutes of the game, the two sides eventually called off the dogs as Denver would go on to win the game 132-115.

Stat Leaders

Points: Bones Hyland - 22

Assists: Nikola Jokic - 7

Rebounds: Jokic - 10

Player of the Game: Bones Hyland - 22 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 6-of-12 field goal, 4-of-7 3-point, 6-of-7 free throw