NEW YORK — The New York Knicks dealt the Denver Nuggets their worst loss of the season, posting a 117-90 victory Friday at Madison Square Garden.
Previously, Denver (24-24) lost by 21 points to the Los Angeles Clippers (112-91) on Dec. 21st and to the Memphis Grizzlies (120-99) on Dec. 28th.
Forward Carmelo Anthony, who was traded from the Nuggets to the Knicks (20-30) three years ago this month, led all scorers with 31 points. Forward Amar’e Stoudemire added 17 points and eight rebounds.
On most nights the Knicks rely on Anthony to do the bulk of the scoring. However, against the Nuggets, coach Mike Woodson’s team featured six players in double figures.
In addition to Anthony and Stoudemire, shooting guard J.R. Smith added 13 points, center Tyson Chandler and reserve forward Jeremy Tyler scored 12 points apiece and rookie guard Tim Hardaway Jr. tossed in 10 points. All 12 Knicks who played scored in the rare lop-sided win.
Denver (24-24) was led by guard Ty Lawson, who scored 24 points.
The sloppily played game featured a combined 48 turnovers and 44 fouls.
The Nuggets made just six shots from the field in the fourth quarter.
“Defense has to be our identity,” said Chandler. “We have to lean on our defense to turn into offense. When you get stops it allows us to run.”
Smith scored eight points in a row on long jumpers to provide the Knicks with a 25-point lead, 102-77, with 7:09 left in the game.
The Knicks went on a tear to start the third quarter. Topped by Anthony’s five points, the Knicks used a 12-4 burst to take a 62-48 advantage with 8:32 to go in the quarter. He scored 11 points in the third. New York displayed some crisp passing, collecting eight assists on 14 shots from the floor.
Woodson pointed to a spirited practice on Thursday that led to the Knicks aggressive play against Denver.
“We haven’t been able to run up and down, scrimmage and bang and do all the necessary things a team should do during the season,” said Woodson. “Yesterday (Thursday) was a spirited practice and it was a carry-over to the ball game.
“We need more days like that.”
In the second quarter, Anthony snapped a 44-all deadlock when he drained a 3-pointer with 1:35 to go. That was followed by a runner from guard Raymond Felton and one free throw by Smith for a 50-44 Knicks halftime lead.
“When it was 44-44, that’s the last time when I remember it being somewhat of a game,” said Denver coach Brian Shaw. “It was a timeout and I said ‘Let’s finish the quarter strong. We came out and proceeded to have five turnovers in a row to end the second quarter.
“That was pretty much the game. Defensively we didn’t stop anybody.”
Anthony poured in 20 points for the Knicks in the first half.
Denver took advantage of eight New York turnovers in the first quarter, scoring 14 points off the miscues. The Nuggets led 26-20 at the close of the first quarter behind forward Wilson Chandler’s 10 points.
Anthony had 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field in the opening quarter. It marked the 17th time this season he has posted 10 or more points in the first quarter. Only Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant has more with 18.
NOTES: The Knicks are 8-0 this season when they score at least 110 points. … New York matched a season high for steals with 16. … The Nuggets’ bench ranks third in the league in points per game (39.8) and first in rebounds per game (17.9). The Denver reserves scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against the Knicks. … Knicks F Carmelo Anthony is averaging 29.3 points while connecting on 40.5 percent from beyond the arc in six games since setting a club record of 62 points in a 125-96 win over Charlotte on Jan. 24. … Anthony is averaging 38.8 minutes per game, the most in the league. … Denver F Kenneth Faried has posted 55 career double-doubles. … Knicks G Tim Hardaway Jr. is fourth among rookies in scoring with a 9.3 average and first in 3-point shooting (39.8 percent). … Fans received a Carmelo Anthony bobblehead.
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