Knicks takeaways from Saturday’s 113-99 loss to Nuggets, including poor shooting and defense

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Knicks Julius Randle blue jersey guarding Nuggets Nnaji
Knicks Julius Randle blue jersey guarding Nuggets Nnaji

The Knicks lost their third straight game as they fell to the Denver Nuggets, 113-99, on Saturday afternoon.

Here are the takeaways….

  • RJ Barrett (illness) and Nerlens Noel (knee) returned to the lineup on Saturday with Barrett in the starting five. After missing his first two shots, both threes, Barrett scored his first points since Tuesday with a layup under the basket to get the Knicks’ scoring started for the day. Both teams would trade buckets early and often. The Nuggets would go on a 7-0 run, but the Knicks kept it close with a mini run of their own. The rest seemingly energized Barrett who scored seven points on 43 percent shooting in the quarter. Julius Randle contributed with six points, but despite shooting 39 percent as a team to the Nuggets 57 percent, the Knicks finished the first quarter down just 30-25. Reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic posted 10 points and six rebounds.

  • The second quarter started with a frantic pace on the defensive side of the ball for both teams. Neither team scored a point until almost three minutes in. The Nuggets would go on a 14-3 run to go up by double digits, all without Jokic on the floor. After a timeout, the Knicks went on a 9-2 run with Evan Fournier scoring seven of his 10 points. The Nuggets would go on a short run to take a 60-49 lead into halftime. Randle and Fournier were the only Knicks to score in double digits at halftime with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Jokic had 17 points and seven rebounds at halftime while Zeke Nnaji posted 16 points off the bench.

  • Mitchell Robinson, who had zero points in the first half, started the third quarter with back-to-back putbacks to get the scoring started for the Knicks and to bring the deficit to single digits. The Knicks continued to get the Nuggets lead down to six, but Denver would push it back to double digits. The Nuggets would end the third quarter on a 23-8 run to take a 92-71 lead into the final frame. Jokic scored 12 points in the third and the Knicks had no answer for him. The Knicks shot just 33 percent including 3-for-11 from three.

  • The Nuggets continued their hot shooting by making their first four three pointers to start the fourth quarter and would eventually push their lead to 30 points. The Knicks would go on a 23-7 run to make the game a bit closer, but the points came in garbage time and New York fell to the Nuggets, 113-99.

  • The Knicks shot just 40 percent for the entire game including 12-for-40 from three. Randle led the team with 24 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Jokic scored 32 points and sat out for for the entire fourth quarter. Nnaji had a career-high 21 points coming off the bench.

Highlights

What’s next

The Knicks start a three-game road trip when they travel to San Antonio to take on the Spurs on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.