Studs and Duds: Knicks extend their win streak to five games after demolishing the Denver Nuggets

New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby (8) shoots a three point shot against Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) and Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks turned in a dominant display from start to finish against the defending champion Denver Nuggets on Thursday night. Surprisingly, New York’s supporting cast, led by OG Anunoby, did the heavy lifting on this occasion while Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle let the game come to them. The Knicks demolished Denver en route to a 38-point blowout (122-84 final score), extending the winning streak to five games. 

Studs: OG Anunoby is everywhere 

Since joining New York, Anunoby has catapulted the New York Knicks to a premiere team in the Eastern Conference. A seamless fit found far and few, New York has the best record in the NBA this calendar year.

Against the Nuggets, Anunoby’s entire repertoire was on display. Scoring a team-high 26 points on 55% from the field Anunoby’s tenacity is contagious amongst the rotation. The defensive intelligence and instincts from Anunoby forced six steals, converting defense to offense for the Knicks. 

As great as the Knicks have been defensively, Anunoby expects to be even better with the additions of Mitchell Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein.

“Whenever we get guys back, Mitch – we’ll be even better. Just playing them in the past, knowing they’re monsters back there – both [Mitchell Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein]. We’ll be really good.”

OG Anunoby when asked if he expected the Knicks’ defense to click quickly, via SNY

Studs: Donte DiVincenzo is a marksman

The Knicks have hit home runs in many of their recent acquisitions, and Donte DiVincenzo sits near the top of those additions. In the past four games, DiVincenzo has averaged 15 points per game on 62.9 TS%. Doing whatever is necessary on both sides of the ball has made DiVincenzo a complimentary piece in the backcourt with Jalen Brunson.

Top 20 in three-pointers made this season, DiVincenzo’s marksman efforts were on display against the Denver Nuggets. Shooting 4/9 from three-point range the demoralizing buckets from Donte extended the lead and ultimately was too much for the Nuggets to overcome. 

Studs: The Knicks’ dynamic duo gets a well-deserved break 

The usual high usage of Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson only played an average of 28 minutes combined against the defending champions and the team still won by 38 points. That indicates not only incredible leadership on the parts of the two pillars but a maturation in both of their games, allowing the game to come to them and using their gravity to get better looks for their teammates.

Randle finished with 17 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists on 15 shots. The recent rise in distribution from Randle builds confidence in his teammates and self-confidence as they execute on open looks. Brunson scored 21 points and shot 70% from the field against the Nuggets, while both stars sat the entire fourth quarter.

Takeaways from the Knicks’ dominant win over the Nuggets

The Knicks made a statement over the Nuggets and sent a message to the entire NBA with this victory. 11-2 since the OG Anunoby Trade, boasting the league’s best defense, and holding the defending champions to only 84 total points makes this the most significant win of the season thus far.

Miles McBride and Quentin Grimes combined for 32 points as the Knicks bench outscored Denver’s by 20 points. This level of play from New York is sustainable, and without their starting or backup center, the best is yet to come.

Looking ahead is a rivalry showdown between the New York Knicks and Miami Heat. Currently, the Knicks are on a two-game winning streak against Miami dating back to last season, but their last six matchups have all been decided by 10 points or less. 

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