Harris scores 23 points, Nuggets beat Knicks 130-118
DENVER (AP) — Gary Harris gave his bruised right foot a final test during pregame warmups and determined it was good enough to go.
Then he proved it.
Harris scored 23 points, Trey Lyles had 21 and the Denver Nuggets beat the New York Knicks 130-118 on Thursday night.
“I felt good right before the game so I went out there and gave it a go,” said Harris, who tweaked the foot last Friday against Phoenix and aggravated the injury Monday night against Portland.
Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic added 18 points apiece for the Nuggets, who defeated the Knicks for the 10th time in a row in Denver. New York hasn’t won in the Mile High City since 2006.
Seven Nuggets scored in double figures. Denver hit 14 of 28 3-pointers led by Harris, who connected on four of his six shots from beyond the arc.
“Once you hit your first few shots you can kind of tell how your body is feeling, especially with the flow of the game,” Harris said. “You just figure out where you’re going to get your shots and once you get them, you’ve just got to knock them down.”
Denver shot 60 percent from the field to New York’s 55 percent, ending a streak of eight games in which the Nuggets had been outshot by the opposition.
“Guys made their shots,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “The other thing we’ve been stressing is less play calling, more freedom of movement, more pace and just be hard to guard, like we were last year. It was pace and it was movement and it was a night where we finally made some shots consistently.”
Kristaps Porzingis, back after missing Tuesday’s loss at Golden State with a sore knee, and Michael Beasley each scored 21 points for the Knicks. Enes Kanter had 20 and Trey Burke 18.
Trailing by 13 at the half, the Knicks cut it to 99-92 heading into the final period after Burke connected on a fadeaway shot.
The Nuggets, though, scored 10 straight points to start the fourth quarter, including 3-pointers by Will Barton and Lyles to rebuild Denver’s lead to 109-92.
New York put together a 9-0 burst to pull to 114-106 but Porzingis fouled out with just under 5 minutes remaining and Murray drained a key 3-pointer with 2:41 remaining to put the Nuggets back up by 11 points. Harris added a jumper a little more than a minute later to quash the Knicks’ comeback bid.
“Without him out there, that takes away a little bit of a weapon,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said of losing Porzingis. “You can short roll him and he can make a mid-range shot, which he just did right before he fouled out, or he can space out for 3. Offensively, they were fine. Thirty-two assists, they moved the ball and guys did a good job that way. But defensively is where it wasn’t very good.”
Porzingis said the Nuggets exerted pressure on the Knicks from the start.
“First quarter, 39 points. That’s way too many,” he said. “They shot the ball great. Part of it is our defense and part of it is just them having a really good night. We did a better job in the second half, but it still wasn’t enough.”
The Nuggets had their highest point total in a half this season, leading by as many as 18 points before settling for a 73-60 advantage at the break. Harris scored 18 points during the first two periods.
Knicks: C Joakim Noah was not with the team, having been excused for personal reasons. He’s expected to miss two games. ... F Kyle O’Quinn was held out of the game because of a bruised left calf. ... G Tim Hardaway Jr. was inactive after recently returning from a leg injury.
Nuggets: F Kenneth Faried missed a second consecutive game with left ankle soreness. ... The 39-point first quarter matched a season high for the opening period. Denver also had a 39-point first quarter against Orlando on Nov. 11.
The Nuggets’ home winning streak against the Knicks is their second-longest against an opponent. Denver has won its last 11 at home against the Chicago Bulls.
Knicks: Visit Phoenix on Friday to complete a season-high, seven-game road trip.
Nuggets: Host Dallas on Monday night.
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