The New York Knicks own the NBA’s worst record, but nobody has been as bad as the Denver Nuggets since mid-January.
Both teams will try to pick up a rare win Monday night when the Nuggets look to continue their home success against the Knicks.
The Nuggets (22-41) have dropped 21 of 25 since Jan. 16, including 11 of 12 on their own court. While Denver won its first two games under interim coach Melvin Hunt, it lost 120-11 at San Antonio on Friday and 114-100 to Houston on Saturday.
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Wilson Chandler had 26 points and Randy Foye added 20, but the Nuggets were outscored 63-45 in the second and third quarters.
"We were a little tired maybe, the four games in five nights," said Danilo Gallinari, who had 11 points but missed 12 of 15 shots. "I don’t want to use that as an excuse. They were better than us. I thought we played hard. Both teams did, and unfortunately they were able to be better than us."
Though the score wasn’t close, Hunt was pleased to see his team keep battling.
"Letting them know it’s important. And they believe it, they know it’s important," said Hunt, who replaced Brian Shaw at the helm on Tuesday. "As a coach, eventually I’m going to get away from the effort talk, and we’re going to get better and better at the other things."
Denver is looking to avoid a third consecutive loss in the series after falling 109-93 at New York on Nov. 16. However, the Knicks got 28 points apiece from injured star Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith – who is now in Cleveland.
The Nuggets have taken six in a row from the Knicks at home, averaging 114.7 points. However, three of New York’s last four losses there were decided by two or three points.
The Knicks (12-49) are coming off back-to-back losses to Indiana as they open a five-game road trip. They were blown out 105-82 in Indianapolis on Wednesday before hanging tough in Saturday’s 92-86 home defeat.
Andrea Bargnani had 21 points before fouling out as New York was outscored 32-23 in the fourth quarter.
"The biggest thing was just trying to keep fighting," point guard Langston Galloway said. "We wanted to match their physicality and just continue to play hard. I think we did that tonight, and we’ll try to continue to do that the rest of the season."
The Knicks have had an especially rough time away from home, where they’ve compiled a 4-26 record. New York has dropped each of its 10 road games against Western Conference foes by an average of 15.1 points.
"We know we’re not going to have the fan support, we’re just going to go out there and try to make it a good trip and get some wins," Galloway said.
Bargnani is averaging 18.6 points on 55.2 percent shooting over the last five games. He’s averaging 19.8 in his last six against the Nuggets, though he hasn’t faced them since Nov. 29, 2013.
Denver center Jusuf Nurkic is likely to miss a seventh straight game due to a sprained ankle. Forward Darrell Arthur’s status is unclear due to right knee soreness.