Good, great & awesome: Nuggets obliterate Knicks with stellar shooting

New York, NY, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Will Barton (5) slam dunks the ball over New York Knicks forward Kevin Knox II (20) during the first half at Madison Square Garden.
Dec 5, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Will Barton (5) slam dunks the ball over New York Knicks forward Kevin Knox II (20) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets went into Thursday night’s game with two-straight losses against the Sacramento Kings on the road and a home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, but still had to begin their longest road trip of the season against the New York Knicks on Thursday night.

Denver was desperate to get back on the right track to avoid a three-game losing streak.

The Nuggets used Thursday’s matchup with the Knicks as get-right gameas the Nuggets got back on the winning track and obliterated the Knicks.

The Nuggets had their best shooting night of the season as they easily beat the Knicks to a score of 129-92. With that, I give you the good, great, and awesome.

Good – Michael Porter Jr. shines

There were plenty of good moments to go around in the Nuggets first complete game this season.

Denver led for all four quarters, shot lights out from beyond the arc, and played stout defense which made it extremely difficult for the Knicks throughout the evening.

The Nuggets hit a season-high 21 three-point shots in the game and Denver’s second unit outscored New York’s bench by 20 points.

Denver was up by so much that the Nuggets heralded No. 14 pick in the 2018 draft was able to show what he can do.

Michael Porter Jr. did not get into the game until the fourth quarter and he only played five minutes on the night, but what cannot be overlooked is his undeniable talent.

Porter Jr. scooped up three rebounds, knocked down two 3-pointers and also challenged his man at the rim as he forced a couple of stops.

While Porter Jr. will most likely not enter the rotation anytime soon, it is great to know that he is staying ready despite not playing much and if he is called upon, he is able to contribute.

Great – Blazing-hot first half

Saying that the Nuggets got off to a hot start would be an understatement. Denver had one of their best starts of the entire season on both ends of the floor and their scorching-hot first half is exactly why they cruised to their 14th victory of the season.

Denver started out the game a bit sluggish as they trailed 25-22 with 2:16 remaining in the first quarter and it looked as if the Knicks were going to hang around. From there, the Nuggets pulled away as they went on a 45-23 run for the remainder of the first half and went into the halftime intermission with a 22-point lead.

Prior to Thursday’s game head coach Michael Malone joked that altitude may be the reason that his team is not shooting well as they have been away from the Pepsi Center, but admittedly confessed that he is not sure what truly has gone into their night and day road-and-home shooting splits.

Regardless, Denver went into Madison Square Garden and put on a shooting clinic in the first half.

The Nuggets shot 60% from the field, including going 11-18 from beyond the arc and also got some much-needed assistance from their bench unit.

Denver’s bench went into the half with 34 of the team’s 67 points. Denver shared the ball, matched the Knicks intensity, and knocked down their open looks.

It was a great overall game for the Nuggets and they will surely look at the film and attempt to find ways to duplicate their play from Thursday’s game.

Awesome – Bench unit stands out

The Nuggets bench unit was the biggest difference-maker last season and they have been off to a less-than-stellar start this season.

Denver used Thursday’s game as a way to build confidence as well as put the league on notice that they are still one of the deepest teams in the NBA.

Denver’s bench infused themselves into the game plan early as they got off to a great start in the opening quarter and rode their momentum for the remainder of the game as the bench had a season-high 74 points.

Jerami Grant was the first player off of the bench and he helped lead the second unit as he put up 16 points on the night.

Juancho Hernangomez and Malik Beasley were big parts of the unit that built the big lead in the first half. Beasley finished with 15 points on 5-9 shooting from the field and knocked down three 3-pointers on the night as a bolt of energy off of the bench. Hernangomez also shot the ball well as he finished with 12 points and hit four 3-pointers in the game.

To round off the bench was the play of Monte Morris, who is starting to look like the backup point guard that was one of the best reserves in the league last season. He had 15 points, six assists, and three steals and even pulled off his first dunk of the season as his teammates celebrated on the sideline.

When the Nuggets are getting this type of play from both their starters as well as their bench unit, they become more dangerous as a team. They are able to use that advantage against teams with bad second units and also give their starters long opportunities to rest as they did on Thursday when the starters got to sit and get ready for their back-to-back against the Boston Celtics.

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