Knicks takeaways from Saturday's 116-110 win over Nuggets, including a statement in Jalen Brunson's return from injury
The Knicks made a statement in a 116-110 win over the Denver Nuggets at MSG.
Five things to know from Saturday's game
1. Brunson's first game back was a positive development, headlined by his 16-point first quarter. He cooled down, but logging 32 minutes after missing three games that New York's star point guard is good to go for the regular season's final stretch. Brunson gave the Knicks, who jumped out to a largest lead of 13 early in the second quarter, a much-needed boost. He finished his first game back with a team-high 24 points on 9-of-20 shooting, including a 2-for-5 clip from long range, while adding five assists and two rebounds.
2. While Brunson shook the rust off, outside shooting loomed large as the Knicks struggled to sink looks from deep. New York was 9-of-32 shooting behind the arc, headlined by Julius Randle's 1-for-6 afternoon and Immanuel Quickley's 1-of-7 showing off the bench. Quentin Grimes gave the Knicks a jolt with a 3-for-5 spurt, but Jamal Murray's 5-of-7 line and game-high 25 points highlighted Denver's attack.
3. Josh Hart once again did a little bit of everything to fuel New York off the bench, contributing 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting while adding eight rebounds and five assists in 32 minutes. Hart's back-to-back buckets in a 23-second span at the fourth quarter's 11:26 and 11:03 marks -- the latter of which was a transition dunk that came on a steal -- notably put the Knicks up 96-91 during a pivotal fourth quarter.
4. After a 110-110 tie on back-to-back NBA MVP Nikola Jokic's layup with 2:37 left in the fourth quarter, the Knicks responded. Randle's 10-foot field goal at the 2:11 mark set off a 6-0 run to end the game, including Brunson's two free throws with 43 seconds left and Mitchell Robinson's dagger dunk 19 seconds later.
5. The Knicks are on a three-game winning streak that now includes a statement victory against the Western Conference-leading Nuggets (47-24). New York's response follows a three-game skid from last Tuesday through Saturday, and it has won 12 of its past 15.
The Knicks (42-30) host the Minnesota Timberwolves Monday at 7 p.m. from The Garden. The T-Wolves entered Saturday's 7 p.m. tip-off at the Toronto Raptors with a 35-36 record and losses in four of their past five games.