Nikola Jokic Makes Denver History
Nikola Jokic became just the second Denver Nuggets player to score 40 points at Madison Square Garden when the Nuggets defeated the Knicks 131-123 on Friday night. If you guessed Carmelo Anthony as the first Nugget to score 40 at the World’s Most Famous Arena, you’d be wrong – that honor belongs to David Thompson.
Jokic finished with 40 points (17-24 shooting), including 18 in the third quarter where he made 7-of-9 shots.
“I need to thank my teammates because they pass me the ball,” Jokic said post-game. “In that third quarter they said ‘throw him the ball inside!’ I said, ‘Oh, they trust me.’”
Nuggets’ coach Michael Malone dismissed talk that Jokic is not yet a star in the NBA.
“I don’t think he is a star in the making,” Malone said. “He is a star. His numbers back him up. He’s is doing it, and he is doing it against really good players; other All-Star level players. He is going to get everything he deserves because he works hard and he is a great kid.”
Carmelo Anthony Says ‘Cloud’ Is Hovering Over Knicks
Carmelo Anthony told reporters post-game that the Charles Oakley incident is just the latest in a series that has a ‘cloud’ hovering over the organization. He admitted that it could be detrimental to landing top-tier free-agents in the future.
“What happened is just an accumulation of incident on top of incident on top of everything that’s going on that’s surrounding the New York Knicks organization right now. It’s just kind of this cloud over us right now that we have to figure out a way to get out of it,” Anthony said.
“I think you have to be in it, you have to be going through it, in order to understand it. From the outside looking in, it looks bad. And it’s even worse when you’re getting through it.”
Earlier Friday, team owner James Dolan announced that he was banning Oakley from Madison Square Garden. Anthony was asked about it after the game.
“This is his organization. This is his team,” Anthony said. “He makes those decisions. I don’t think we should have an opinion about that, we should be questioning that.”
Jeff Hornacek Was Furious With His Starters’ Effort
Knicks’ coach Hornacek was furious with the lack of effort put forth on the defensive end by his starting unit in the first quarter, going so far as to say he should have given more minutes to the second unit.
“Couldn’t guard anybody. Simple as that,” he said. “So they should be embarrassed by the way they couldn’t guard anybody.”
Carmelo Anthony agreed with the coach’s sentiment.
“We all should be embarrassed the way that we’re playing,” he said. “Nobody likes to lose. We have to do better. We have to do better as a team.”