In a seesaw battle, the New York Knicks came out on top against the Denver Nuggets, using a strong fourth quarter to come away with a 112-106 win.
The Knicks improved to 8-0 at home and 15-5 overall. The Nuggets dropped to 10-11.
Let's examine how New York got this win.
1. Jason Kidd's calm influence
Yes, Carmelo Anthony may have dropped 34 points, but Jason Kidd was huge for the Knicks tonight. The 39-year-old veteran finished with 17 points, seven rebounds, and four assists and played incredible defense. He was hustling all over the floor and put his teammates in great position to make shots throughout the game. Kidd's fingerprints were all over this win.
2. Anthony's fourth quarter explosion
Anthony came into the fourth quarter shooting 5-for-17. He then went 5-of-7 in the fourth, this coming after missing the past two games with a finger laceration. Carmelo hit numerous big shots in the final period, scoring 11 points overall to help lead the Knicks to the win. He also got to the line at will tonight, going 11-of-16 from the stripe.
3. Free throws, free throws, free throws
New York attempted 37 free throws tonight, 27 of the coming in the first half. That ended up playing a significant part in the final outcome, as the Nuggets badly outshot the Knicks (56 percent to 43 percent).
4. Won the turnover battle
As they have been doing all season, New York won the turnover battle tonight. While the Knicks only turned the ball over nine times, which limited Denver's fastbreak opportunities, the Nuggets turned the ball over 16 times, five of them coming courtesy of Andre Iguodala, who had a rather rough night for Denver.
5. Stifled Ty Lawson in the second half
Ty Lawson exploded for 19 first half points, but he ended the game with 23. The Knicks did a great job on him in the second half, preventing him from getting dribble penetration and easy buckets. Lawson's offensive outburst also made his teammates' jobs a lot easier in those first two quarters, as New York's defense had to constantly collapse on him whenever he drove the ball into the lane. That wasn't the case late.