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Knicks at Nuggets: How & Who to Watch With Nikola Jokić Out

The New York Knicks will look to form a winning streak after an inspiring effort in Utah.

Could penning a new, victorious tune in Utah yield gold in The Rockies?

That's certainly what the New York Knicks are hoping for as a five-game road trip continues, with part two landing on Wednesday night against the Denver Nuggets. New York is riding high off a Tuesday triumph over the Utah Jazz, a diverse scoring victory brought about by a strong fourth quarter that saw Jalen Brunson earn 12 of his 25 points. Jericho Sims put in his second career double-double off the bench at 11 points and 13 rebounds as the Knicks bestowed Utah its first home loss of the season.

Currently sitting a half-game out of first place on the infantile Western Conference playoff bracket, Denver will be missing Nikola Jokić on Wednesday after the two-time defending Association MVP entered the league's health-and-safety protocols. The Nuggets have won five of their past six, the most recent triumph coming on Sunday in Chicago.

New York and Denver are set to do battle twice this season, the latter showdown slated for Mar. 18 at Madison Square Garden. 

What: New York Knicks (7-7) @ Denver Nuggets (9-4)

Where: Ball Arena, Denver, CO

When/Watch: 10 p.m. ET, MSG/MSG Go

Keep an Eye On: Cam Reddish

Contract Year Cam's revolution continued on Tuesday night. 

Having effectively taken over the primary shooting guard's role from Evan Fournier (a DNP-CD after the Knicks opted for a nine-man rotation on Tuesday) and Quentin Grimes (still labeled "situational" by Tom Thibodeau), Reddish has earned 45 points and 56 percent shooting (17-of-30) over his last two games, which have likewise showcased some strong defensive performances (four steals in the bizarre Sunday loss to Oklahoma City on Sunday, a rare silver lining in the otherwise dreary defensive showing). 

Tuesday's showing included perhaps one of the more quietly clutch shooting efforts of the Knicks' season so far: Reddish earned 11 of his 19 points in the second half. Despite having a would-be, three-point dagger blocked by Lauri Markkanen when Utah sliced a late lead to six, Reddish attacked the rim on the next possession and earned free throws that more or less put the Knicks on the right track.

Reddish is more or less playing to repossess the narrative of his NBA career and is starting to become a valuable piece in New York's debuts. If it helps the Knicks find some roster stability, even better. 

Nugget to Watch: Jamal Murray

With Jokić out, Denver's star attraction duties turn to Murray and Michael Porter Jr. Thus, RJ Barrett has the privilege of squaring off against another Canadian co-combatant after facing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on Sunday.

Little more need to be written or said about Gilgeous-Alexander's visit, with Barrett named the de facto face of the defensive lapse against the Thunder by virtue of a mandated sabbatical over the final 22 minutes of game time. With Denver's infirmary getting relatively crowded (Jokić joined reserve Bones Hyland in protocol while Aaron Gordon is said to be fighting a non-COVID illness), the week ahead (Denver plays five over the next seven days) could be a strong showcase for Murray, who is back on the floor after missing all of last year with a torn ACL. 

There might be no better place to start than a Knicks team that's coming off a strong defensive performance but one that's perhaps tired and still allowing over 116 points a game. 

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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