Knicks Aim to Ride Momentum Into Home Tilt Against Nuggets
1. Tim Hardaway Jr. stole the show in Cleveland by scoring 24 of his 34 points in the first half of action and propelling the Knicks to a thrilling 114-95 victory over the defending Eastern Conference champs. In 41 minutes of court time, Hardaway Jr. exploded out of shooting slump as he drained 11-of-19 shots from the floor, 5-of-10 behind the arc, and connected on 7-of-8 free throw attempts. Additionally, Hardaway Jr. dished out eight assists, grabbed four rebounds, and recorded two steals in an impressive all-around performance.
2. Kristaps Porzingis sparkled once again for the orange and blue on Sunday night. By taking advantage of mismatches all over the floor, the big man hit 48 percent from the field and knocked down two 3-pointers while scoring 32 points in the win. On Sunday, Porzingis became the first Knick in franchise history to score at least 30 points in four of the first 5 games of a season.
3. For the second straight game, head coach Jeff Hornacek started veteran Jarrett Jack at the point guard spot. Jack played a major role in the Knicks strong start to the contest on Sunday, considering he registered five of his game-high nine assists in the first quarter. Frank Ntilikina put together another solid night with five points, three assists, and more importantly two steals in 16 minutes off the bench.
4. New York is finding success on both sides of the floor in the back-to-back victories. In the win over the Nets, the Knicks recorded a 114.4 offensive rating and a 91.9 defensive rating. On Sunday, New York’s offensive rating was 115.2 and the defensive rating was 96.0. To put those numbers into context, the Golden State Warriors own the best offensive rating in the league at 115.5 and the Los Angeles Clippers are the top ranked defensive team in terms of defensive rating at 92.8. The Knicks are averaging 110.5 points per game and holding their opponents to 90.5 points in the two wins heading into tonight’s matchup against the Nuggets.
5. Denver enjoyed a productive second half of the season last year and finished with a 40-42 overall record. The Nuggets were busy this summer, acquiring free agent Paul Millsap, trading for Trey Lyles, and signing Richard Jefferson. Through six games, Denver is 3-3 but enters tonight’s game at the Garden with two straight wins. The Nuggets dispatched Brooklyn last night 124-111 behind 26 points from Jamal Murray. Nikola Jokic posted 21 points and is Denver’s leading scorer and assist-man this season. Watch the battle of the boards tonight as both these teams rank in the top ten in offensive rebounding.