NEW YORK (AP) — Nikola Jokic scored a career-high 40 points to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 131-123 victory over the New York Knicks on Friday night.
On the day Charles Oakley was banned from Madison Square Garden, the current Knicks proved again they can’t play defense anywhere near the way his Knicks teams did, and lost their fourth straight.
Former Knicks forward Wilson Chandler added 19 points and Jameer Nelson had 16 points and 12 assists for the Nuggets, who shot 56.8 percent from the field.
Carmelo Anthony scored 33 points against his former team and Kristaps Porzingis added 17, but Jokic dominated the matchup of second-year big men from Europe.
The Serbian center was 17 of 23 from the field and added nine rebounds and five assists as the Nuggets reached 120 points for the eighth time in their last 16 games.
The Knicks shot 56 percent themselves, but never got particularly close in the fourth quarter because Denver couldn’t be stopped.
Oakley was arrested after an altercation with security guards on Wednesday, and Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan announced Oakley had been banned from the arena during an ESPN Radio interview, though said he was open to reconciling with the forward.
Fans chanted “We want Oakley!” and “Free Charles Oakley!” in the first quarter, but the chants soon turned to boos as the Nuggets repeatedly scored easily.
Nuggets: Denver played without Danilo Gallinari (strained left groin), Kenneth Faried (sprained right ankle) and Emmanuel Mudiay (lower back). … Will Barton came off the bench for 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Knicks: Brandon Jennings had 13 assists but shot just 2 for 10 from the field. … The Knicks haven’t won the season series since 2002-03, the season before Anthony entered the NBA.
DOLAN ON JACKSON
Dolan said during the ESPN Radio interview that he won’t fire Phil Jackson or stand in the way if Jackson tried to trade Carmelo Anthony. Dolan wouldn’t say if he hoped the Knicks would keep Anthony.
“I’m not going to go there because that’s meddling with Phil,” he said. “That’s telling him how to do his job and I’m not going to do it.”