New York Knicks 70th Anniversary

5 Things to Know: Knicks Host Nuggets in Second Meeting of the Season

by Jonah Ballow

7:30 PM EST | Madison Square Garden
TV:  MSG Network
Radio: ESPN NY 98.7 FM

5 Things To Know:

1.  On Wednesday night, the Knicks fell in a high-scoring affair as the Clippers escaped MSG with a 119-115 win.  Chris Paul was sidelined for Los Angeles but Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan combined for 60 points to snap the Clippers three-game slide.  For New York, Carmelo Anthony delivered a solid performance with a team-high 28 points on 50 percent shooting from the floor.  Kristaps Porzingis added 27 and Derrick Rose recorded 20 points, eight assists, and seven boards in the defeat.     

2. Joakim Noah missed his second straight game on Wednesday with a sore left hamstring.  The big man is expected to be in street clothes for tonight’s matchup against the Nuggets.

3.  Head coach Jeff Hornacek has adjusted his starting group to counter the loss of Noah at the center position.  Kyle O’Quinn is averaging 14 points, four rebounds, 1.5 steals, and a block in 20.5 minutes in both games Noah has missed.  Most likely, O’Quinn will receive the starting nod tonight against Denver with Willy Hernangomez playing a significant role off the bench at the center position. 

4.  The Nuggets are right in the mix for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.  At 23-29, Denver is 5-5 over its last 10 outings heading into the contest at MSG tonight.  While Denver should feel pleased to be in a position to make the postseason, the team is dealing with major injury issues to key players.  Danilo Gallinari missed his fourth straight game on Wednesday due to a left groin strain, Emmanuel Mudiay was out with lower back pain (second game missed), and Kenneth Faried (ankle) is out for tonight’s game.

5.  The Knicks scored 65 points in the second half but the Nuggets outlasted them in the first matchup in Denver on December 18.  On the final game of a long west coast road trip, New York could not take advantage of a 29-point night from Anthony (10-14 FG).  Two big key statistical differences in the contest was Denver’s production in the paint (68-32) and in transition (21-14).