The Denver Nuggets entered Saturday’s matinee at Madison Square Garden a reeling Western power, having lost four of five. They leave town even reeling-er, now losers of five of six after the New York Knicks came back from 13 down in the second half to win. One of the Knicks’ only missing merit badges this year has been defending the homecourt, but this win makes it seven of eight at MSG. The win was not always a given.
The Nuggets played the villain’s role with tactful aplomb, taking control of the game in the second quarter and looking ready to run away with it in the third. The Denver players all gave you basically what you’d ask of them. Nikola Jokić shot brilliantly inside the arc and was two dimes short of a triple-double. An efficient 25 from Jamal Murray to go along with six assists. Aaron Gordon and Bruce Brown did more than a little of everything. Michael Porter Jr. canned three 3s. Jeff Green nearly pulled off his annual “Jeff Green is STILL yamming on fools” dunk, were it not for one obstinate German.
Isaiah Hartenstein denies Jeff Green at the rim with a monster block. pic.twitter.com/5HnFXeQsbg— dave (@nbadaves) March 18, 2023
Your orange and blue brushstrokes: Jalen Brunson exploded out of the gate and looked healthy and himself throughout. The Knicks were down 13 midway through the third quarter, then RJ Barrett and the bench started closing the gap. It was still tied with just over two minutes to go in the fourth, before the Knicks scored the game’s final six points. Assuming Denver hangs on to the West’s best record, this will be the first time since 2002-03 that the Knicks swept the season-series from the West’s best record.
Recap to follow, I imagine. 10 games left. The good ship Knicks keeps on sailing.