This evening, the 4-5 Denver Nuggets visited the 5-4 New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Through nine games this season, the Nuggets have been inconsistent despite a few high offensive performances. Star players such as Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray have picked up right where the left off a season ago.
Coming into the season, expectations were minimal for the Knicks. After a surprising 5-3 start to the season, the team has crashed back to reality, losing their last two games in ugly fashion. Tonight, they were outplayed and outcoached by the Denver Nuggets as it led to a 2nd consecutive loss. The final score was 114-89 in favor of the Nuggets.
Knicks Can’t Contain Nikola Jokic
Whether it was Mitchell Robinson or Nerlens Noel, the Knicks big men could not match up with Nuggets Center Nikola Jokic. In 30 total minutes played, he recorded a double-double, scoring 22 points and accounting for 10 rebounds. If he had played up to 40 minutes, those stats could have been much higher.
In the coming games, Knicks big men Mitchell Robinson and Nerlens Noel will be a tough task. They match up with big men such as Jarrett Allen, Andre Drummond, and Nikola Vucevic. This will be important for coach Tom Thibodeau to address moving forward.
RJ Barrett’s Shooting Woes Continue
Coming into this season, many thought Knicks second-year guard R.J. Barrett would take a sophomore leap and become a great player. However, with the exception of two games thus far, he has been incredibly underwhelming, especially shooting the ball. Through 10 games, he has shot only 38% from the field and a woeful 21% from three.
While the team brought in shooters this offseason such as Alec Burks, Barrett was expected to take a big leap forward this year. Tonight, that was simply not the case. He finished 4/13 from the field and 0/3 from three.
In the future, if the team is shorthanded, Barrett must contribute, or else this team is headed nowhere. However, there is still plenty of time to rebound for him.
Overall, these last few games have indicated more of this team’s identity. This team will be better than last year, but they still have a ways to go until they are legit contenders. Head Coach Tom Thibodeau has changed the culture of this team around. Once a laughing stock of the league, and now a competitive young team.
This week, the Knicks travel t0 Charlotte to take on LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets tomorrow night. Then, on Wednesday night, they host the crosstown rival Brooklyn Nets. They finish off the week by traveling to Cleveland to face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.
The Denver Nuggets play the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night and then return home to face the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.