The loss is good news only due to the fact that this is only one game and the Nuggets have 79 more remaining. The bad news is that it is uncertain at this point how many games Kenyon Martin will miss after hearing the news minutes before game time that he will need surgery to repair loose cartilage in what was his “good” right knee. More on this to come, but now let’s take a look at this game.
Carmelo Anthony was the game’s high scorer with an impressive stat line indeed. Anthony scored 37 points, handed out eight assists, cleared six boards, notched three steals, and swatted a shot in his 40 minutes of work. The four other Nuggets starters all scored in double figures, but there was not much help from the bench as the substitutes combined for a meager 19 points collectively.
The Knicks were fortunate enough to have Jamal Crawford ignite into a ball of flame in the fourth quarter which enabled them to pull out this win. Crawford scored 20 of his team-high 35 points in the fourth quarter. Jamal’s fourth quarter twenty accounted for 55% of the Knicks scoring in the money quarter, and none were more detrimental to the Nuggets than the three-pointer he hit off the steal from Eduardo Najera with the game tied and three seconds remaining that ended up icing the game for the New York.
The box score indicates that the Nuggets were out rebounded, out shot, and out matched in the blocks department, but the real worries should be rooted in how this team is failing to close the deal in the fourth quarter. I’m not sure there is too much to understand other than teams are doing a good job of hanging around with the Nuggets and then putting in the extra effort to pry victories away from Karl and company. In fact, every loss so far this year I have felt that the Nuggets were the superior team, but each time the opposition finds a way to win by the narrowest of margins.
I’m frustrated to say the least, but there is no clear finger to point at anyone, or anything, in particular. With any luck the Nuggets will figure out why this trend of late game collapse keeps occurring instead of the nail being driven into the coffin. But until they unlock that mystery, it is going to be trying task for George Karl to keep this team’s outlook optimistic. Especially with the next four games all being part of an east coast road trip that includes the Heat, Magic, Bobcats, and 76ers in a six day span. Hold on tight Nuggets faithful because it might be a bumpy ride before things get any smoother.