by Jonah Ballow
NYKnicks.com
@jonahballow

How It Happened:
The Knicks proved they learned from that loss to Detroit in the home opener.  New York led by 21 points before falling in a close contest at the Garden to the Pistons.  On Monday night, fresh off an exhilarating road victory over the defending Eastern Conference champs, the Knicks showed mental fortitude in halting Denver’s comeback bid. 

New York jumped out of the gate with a 35-25 lead after the first quarter and a 22-point advantage heading into the locker room at the half.  However, the Nuggets fought back on a 25-6 run to tie the game at 71-71with 4:59 left in the third quarter. 

In the fourth frame, Tim Hardaway Jr. launched a long bomb at a crucial moment at the 9:23 mark of the period.  He then completed a coast-to-coast layup, followed by two more deep shots to extend the Knicks lead to 100-93.  Kristaps Porzingis was also a clutch player for New York down the stretch by sinking a turnaround jumper with 1:29 on the clock.  The Knicks outscored the Nuggets 32-29 in the final stanza and they locked up a 116-110 win and third consecutive victory.

Knick of the Night:
Porzingis set a career-high with a masterful 38-point performance.  The big man hit 53.8 percent from the floor, 4-of-7 behind the arc, and swatted three shots.

Notables:
Kyle O’Quinn was an absolute game-changer on the defensive side of the floor on Monday night.  In just 20 minutes of court time, O’Quinn scored 15 points, snatched 12 boards, and blocked five shots.  Jarrett Jack dished out 10 assists at the starting point guard spot, Hardaway Jr. added 13 points, and Courtney Lee posted 12 in the winning effort.

Statistically Speaking:
The Knicks won the battle in the paint (36-28) and on the glass (49-36).

Next Up:
The Knicks will have the day off tomorrow following back-to-back contests against the Cavaliers and Nuggets.  On Wednesday night, the squad returns to the Garden to host the Houston Rockets at 8 PM.