(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The New York Knicks get embarrassed in Denver as they give up a season-high 130 points, despite Jeff Hornacek’s attempts to shake up the lineup.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the Knicks found themselves down 114-97 and the game looked like it was all but lost. But then Michael Beasley started attacking the rim, drawing fouls, and eventually pulled the Knicks back within eight points.

But after dealing with foul trouble all game, Kristaps Porzingis fouled out and the Knicks’ run stalled. It’s incredibly hard to fight back down double digits for pretty much an entire game.

Gary Harris was hitting from anywhere and everywhere in the first half and although he was quiet for most of the second half, the rest of his team picked him up. The Nuggets had seven different players score in double figures. They shot just below 60 percent from the field as well as an even 50 percent from three-point range. Denver looked really good on offense, but the Knicks offered no resistance.

New York’s defense was laughable. They allowed uncontested threes all game and that’s not a winning recipe against a team that can get hot like the Nuggets. Their center Nikola Jokic contributed with a double-double, but not the typical double-double for a center. He had 18 points and 10 assists. He brings a certain dynamism to the offense due to his ability to create shots for the guys around him. He always seems to find the open man, which makes doubling him in the post extremely problematic.

On this particular play Willy Hernangomez allows Jokic to get deep post position and at that point, he needs someone to help. Lance Thomas comes in from the corner and Jokic calmy finds Trey Lyles who drains the corner three.

Knicks fans have fallen in love with Enes Kanter this season for his gutsy play. He’s been called the heart and soul of this team, but he needs to learn how to defend the pick and roll. He lets Will Barton get deep in the lane with no resistance and Barton easily finds Jokic for the three.

Lineup Shakeup

Jeff Hornacek needed to make some lineup decisions tonight with Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kyle O’Quinn sidelined. He inserted Ron Baker into the starting lineup, likely in an attempt to get an added defensive presence. He only played 12 minutes and didn’t have a huge impact on the game.

Doug McDermott seems to have fallen out of the rotation after being a consistent rotation player for the early part of this season. On the flip side, it looks like Trey Burke has carved out a niche in Hornacek’s rotations. He had 18 points on 8-for-12 shooting and he added 11 assists in what was his best performance in a Knicks uniform. He’s definitely going to start seeing some more minutes in the near future.

Quick Turnaround

The Knicks head straight to Phoenix to take on the Suns tomorrow night. Phoenix has had a tumultuous year up to this point. It’s a great opportunity for the Knicks to salvage this road trip. A win Friday night would move the Knicks record on the trip to three and four. That looks and sounds a lot better than two and five.

The bad news: the Knicks currently have a record of three and six in the second game of back-to-backs this season. It’s gut check time.

 

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