by Jonah Ballow

9:00 PM ET | Talking Stick Resort Arena
Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM

1.  Last night, the Knicks ran into a hot shooting Nuggets squad that racked up 130 points in a win that evened the season series between the two teams.  Seven players for Denver registered double figures in points and the home team shot 60 percent from the floor in the 12-point victory.  New York’s offense wasn’t an issue in the contest as the squad connected on 54.9 percent of its attempts and only committed 10 turnovers en route to 118 points.  With the win, Denver improved to 15-6 at Pepsi Center and improved to 25-23 on the season.

2.  For the second straight game, the Knicks faced a Western Conference team shorthanded.  Tim Hardaway Jr. did not suit up in preparation for the second of the back-to-back contest tonight.  He continues to work his way back from the injury that sidelined him for 20 games.  Kyle O’Quinn has missed the last two contests due to a contused left calf.  Head coach Jeff Hornacek will provide an update on the lineups for tonight’s game 7:30 p.m.    

3.  One of the bright spots in Thursday’s contest was the play of Trey Burke.  The newly acquired point guard hit 8-of-12 shots from the field for 18 points to go along with 11 assists in 28 minutes of court time.  Burke showed speed in transition and a measured approach to running the offense in the half court setting.  Hornacek played Burke next to Frank Ntilikina throughout the game last night to counter the guard heavy lineup for Denver.

4.  In the first matchup against the Suns this season, New York cruised to a 120-107 victory at Madison Square Garden.  Kristaps Porzingis was prolific by scoring 37 points, Enes Kanter grabbed 15 boards, and Hardaway Jr. dropped 21 in the win.  The Knicks defense limited Phoenix to just 35.1 percent field goal shooting and 9-of-32 from downtown.  Tonight will mark the second and final time the two teams will meet this year.

5.  Phoenix returns home after suffering three losses in four outings on its recent road trip.  The second consecutive defeat occurred against the Pacers on Wednesday night.  The 17-31 Suns are expecting to have Marquese Chriss back on the floor after he’s missed six games due to a hip injury.  Devin Booker enters the matchup as the leading scorer for Phoenix at 24.8 points per game.  New York features Porzingis fresh off being named to the 2018 NBA All-Star game and former Sun Michael Beasley.  In January, Beasley has produced at least 20 points in six straight contests and he’s averaging 17.3 points per game this month.