Knicks look to extend two winning streaks with win in finale of road trip


DENVER — The Knicks face the defending champs Thursday riding a four-game winning streak overall and, even more impressive, three straight wins against the Nuggets.

Before last season, the Knicks owned a 13-game losing streak in Denver, a stretch that went back to 2006.

They finally won at Ball Arena last season, thanks to a 34-point effort from Julius Randle.

Jalen Brunson is averaging 40.3 points per game during this Knicks' road trip so far.
Jalen Brunson is averaging 40.3 points per game during this Knicks’ road trip so far. AP

The victory might’ve saved Tom Thibodeau’s job since he started the road trip on the hot seat.

But once again the Nuggets are dominant in the Mile High City, owning the Western Conference’s best home record while riding the advantage of the high altitude.

Jalen Brunson, who spent four seasons in the Western Conference, said the thin air is jarring for a few minutes into the game.

“From my experience, usually [it’s rough before] that first timeout,” Brunson said. “And then going into that first timeout, it’s a little tough, but then you’re good from there.”

The Knicks will benefit from two off days, a practice and probably a Thursday morning shootaround to get acclimated to the altitude.

“Definitely helps,” Brunson said. “Definitely excited to play and get this show on the road.”

Tom Thibodeau's Knicks have a chance to go 4-0 this road trip, if they can beat the Nuggets on Thursday.
Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks have a chance to go 4-0 this road trip, if they can beat the Nuggets on Thursday. John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

But he rejected the idea of wearing altitude masks during practice.

“I’ve never even used them before, and I’ve actually never seen someone use it, either,” he said.

The Knicks pummeled the Nuggets much closer to sea level at MSG in January by 38 points, one of their best performances of the season. At the time, the Nuggets were finishing up a five-game road trip and blamed fatigue.

Wednesday, the Knicks will be wrapping up a four-game trip while trying to go undefeated on it. Brunson is averaging 40.3 points on the trip.

“Nothing could be done without my teammates, them and the coaching staff believing in me,” Brunson said. “We’re all just clicking right now.”

OG Anunoby didn’t attend practice Wednesday and was ruled out of the Nuggets matchup, according to the injury report.

Anunoby’s surgically repaired elbow “flared up” after the first two games of the road trip, and he flew back to New York for an MRI exam.

The test showed inflammation but no new injury, according to the Knicks.

Counting Thursday, he will have missed 20 of 23 games.

Mitchell Robinson returned to practice but was also ruled out of Thursday’s contest, with Thibodeau stating Wednesday that the center will have to take contact “for a while” then be cleared by doctors before playing in games.

For context, Anunoby returned to full practice following elbow surgery March 7 and missed two more games before returning March 12.


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