Knicks were up by 3 after the 1st quarter, up by 1 at the half (up by 10 but then Denver scored last 9 points of 2nd quarter), up by 2 at the end of 3 quarters, but then fell behind in the middle of the 4th by as many as 7 points, and lost. A key play was with 2:40 left — Knicks down 106-102 with the ball — Tim Hardaway’s bad handle led to a turnover led to a to Nikola Jokic 3 pointer — and instead of it possibly being 106-104 — Denver had a 109-102 lead.
Jokic = A 7’1″ Magic Johnson
The Knicks held Jokic in the first half on offense, but he dealt out 10 assists. In the second half he scored and continued to rebound and feed teamates with great passes — finishing with a triple-double — 19 pts, 14 rebounds, and 15 assists. They call him a 7’1″ Magic Johnson — he sees over the competition and makes purposeful passes inside, causing teamates to constantly make hard cuts through the lane because they know they’ll get a good pass.
How Did Frank Ntilikina Do?
For the Knicks, the boxscore represented the good games the 9 Knicks who played had:
- Ntilikina (4-6, 10 pts, 5 assists) was aggressive and sharp, and played with Mudiay at times in the 4th,
- Kornet was 4-7 from 3, and finished with 19 points,
- Knox was 7-16 for 18 points, with some smooth 3’s and agile drives to the hoop,
- Kanter was 6-11, 17 pts 12 rebounds off the bench. Coming off a horrid game in Utah, and then complaining about his playing time, Kanter ‘rebounded’ with a good game, muscling Jokic. Someday someone will invent an advanced statistic that shows Rebounding = Defense.
- Mudiay with 15 points and 9 assists, aggressive to the basket and hitting that short jumper as usual,
- Hardaway Jr. 7-12 for 16 points — he’s streaky from 3 but boy can he drive to the basket with athleticism in traffic,
- Trier 3-9 for 7 points — played well in the 1st half, when he came in in the 2nd half he missed his shots,
- Vonleh played Jokic well and finished with 5 points and 14 rebounds,
- Damyean Dotson 1 point but only 2 shots taken, 3 assists and a +1 in 13 minutes