Denver, CO – Kenneth Faried led the way with 19 points and 11 rebounds and Will Barton and Wilson Chandler each scored 17 as the Nuggets trounced the New York Knicks 106-78 Tuesday night at the Pepsi Center. With the win, the team improved to 3-2 under interim head coach Melvin Hunt.

After a fairly even first quarter, the Nuggets really pulled away in the second. Will Barton, once again playing the spark-plug role off the bench, got the Nuggets going with a fast-break layup (assisted by forward Darrell Arthur), and two-free throws. Back to back threes by Danilo Gallinari, who finished with nine points but only played 18 minutes after early foul trouble, gave Denver a five-point lead, and it was off to the races from there.

Two stats, both critically important to the Nuggets success, jump out – points in the paint and fast-break points. The Nuggets easily trumped the Knicks in both departments, and it helped that New York was sloppy with the ball, turning it over 14 times on the night, though Denver’s defense does deserve some credit for looking extremely active (Faried in particular got on the floor more than once after loose balls).

The Nuggets were so far out ahead in the fourth that Erick Green, Gary Harris, Joffrey Lauvernge, Barton, and a combination of Faried and Hickson got plenty of run. Hunt said after the game that Jameer Nelson, who played just eight minutes, told him to let Green play in the fourth – which might be the first public example of veteran leadership we’ve seen from Denver this year.

There was one point in the fourth where Barton was pushing the pace, and Hunt told him to slow things down, pull the ball back, and actually run a play – which resulted in a good look from Lauvergne from the corner. He missed, but Hunt was obviously happy with the open shot, and walked back down to the bench clapping his hands.

Things like that, that show the Nuggets are playing with a purpose, are the sorts of positive signs that you love to see from Hunt and the roster at this point in the year.

For the Knicks, guard Alexey Shved led with 19 points on 6-12 shooting.

The Nuggets will face a much tougher test when the welcome in the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday. Tip-off for that game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Zach Marburger is a staff writer for Mile High Sports. He can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @BurchBurger.

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