Knicks-Nuggets Preview

March 7, 2016

The last time New York won in Denver, Carmelo Anthony did all he could to stop it.

The forward has been on the other side of the matchup for the last three of the Knicks' seven-game road skid against the Nuggets, something he'll try to help end Tuesday night.

The Knicks' 109-107 win in Denver on Nov. 8, 2006, featured 37 points and eight assists from Anthony, and he then led the Nuggets to four straight home wins over New York before being traded to the Knicks in a 13-player, three-team deal on Feb. 22, 2011.

His presence hasn't been nearly as impactful on his current side with 18.0 points on 32.4 percent shooting while playing in two of the three road meetings since the trade. In the four before that with Denver, he'd averaged 32.3 points on 56.3 percent.

Should he get that first road win against the Nuggets (25-38), he'll have helped the Knicks (26-38) to their first consecutive wins since Jan. 18 and 20 - which have been followed by a 4-16 record after Saturday's 102-89 home win over Detroit.

There's very little hope of a run at a playoff spot, but interim coach Kurt Rambis isn't yet looking at this season as the 2016-17 preseason. The Knicks are 3-7 since he took over.

"Someone asked me a while ago, is there going to be a point in the season where you just go, 'OK, we're going to play the young guys?' I'm not there yet,'' said Rambis, whose team has won once in its last 10 road games. "And if management tells me at some point in time we're there, and they want to make that change, that's something I'll defer to them. But as a coach, I'm not there yet so I'm going to go with the guys I trust and have the experience right now."

He's a little limited by the injury to Kristaps Porzingis, who missed the win with a leg injury and is considered day to day.

But the Knicks were sharp without their standout rookie and co-No. 2 scorer, shooting 60 percent in the first half and pulling away when the Pistons got within four points early in the fourth quarter. Anthony led all scorers with 24, while Robin Lopez had 21 on 9-of-12 shooting. Arron Afflalo, Anthony's former Denver teammate, added 20 and is averaging 16.7 on 68.8 percent in March to match Porzingis with 14.0 points per game.

"I think we did a great job as a team of staying consistent with our focus, whereas yesterday, Boston made a couple of runs, especially near the end, and we reacted the wrong way," said Lopez, who's averaging 14.4 points and 10.0 rebounds while shooting 62.7 percent in his last 14 games. "Today, whenever Detroit made a run, we usually had a pretty good response."

Denver has won the last two overall matchups, including a 101-96 final in New York on Feb. 7, though that came with Danilo Gallinari scoring 19 points. The Nuggets' top scorer has since been sidelined with two torn ligaments in his ankle suffered on Feb. 26, and the team is 2-2 without him on a seven-game homestand after Sunday's 116-114 overtime win over Dallas.

It was their third overtime game in their last five and featured 25 points and 20 rebounds from Kenneth Faried. The forward has five double-doubles in his last six games while averaging 18.2 points and 11.2 rebounds.

"Coming into this game we were like 1-4 in overtime, so getting this win was definitely huge, especially against a good team like Dallas," said Emmanuel Mudiay, who's averaged 21.0 points and 7.3 assists in his last three games.