Let the games begin, the New York Knicks take on the Denver Nuggets, currently ranked fourth in the Western Conference on Wednesday night. Denver isn’t a breeze as the Knicks prep for a four-game stretch where they’ll face the Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, LA Clippers, and Los Angeles Lakers, all of whom are in the top six in the west.

This will be a real challenge for the Knicks, who have won 12 of their last 13 games but have not faced any significant challenges other than Phoenix which is their only defeat during this stretch. Still, New York is more than capable of keeping up with these teams as the Knicks should have beaten Phoenix if Julius Randle hadn’t fought and Chris Paul had done some magic in the end. Randle with insufficient play is an anomaly these days as he scored 28 points against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday and 31 points against Houston on Sunday.

Three Keys to Beat the Denver Nuggets for the Knicks:

1.) Defense, defense, defense

The main task for New York is to defensively constrain a certain team with their aggressive and suffocating style of play.

The Knicks rank first in the NBA with just 104.6 points per game. Compared to Denver, they allow an average of 109.9, which is a significant difference. However, Denver has three elite goalscorers on its team, including Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., who averaged more than 19 points per game. However, Jamal Murray sustained an injury at the end of the season, making him unavailable for the remainder of the season in Denver, giving the Knicks a slight advantage.

If the Knicks are realistically to get away with victory, they have to play Elite Defense, which we know they can. As long as they can keep Denver from inflating this game and scoring more than 120 points, the Knicks have a chance of staying tight. The common method for New York is late game fatigue, which allows opponents to turn on the afterburner and hit shots to retreat. The squad has done a lot better at closing games and playing solid defenses, which means they need to continue this trend.

2.) Limit the big two

As mentioned earlier, stopping Jokic and Porter Jr. must be a priority. Jokic averages 26.3 points, 10.9 rebounds and 8.5 points as the center, which is absolutely mind-boggling. Porter earned 18.9 points and 7.5 rebounds and flipped the ball just 1.2 times to prove his skills.

The Knicks have a great defense, but this team is capable of blowing anyone out with ease, and they enjoy a nice winning streak of their own too. They last fell to the Los Angeles Lakers but have won nine of their last eleven games.

3.) Julius Randle has to play ELITE basketball

New York has a simple truth: as long as Julius Randle is playing elite basketball, the rest of the team gathers around him. His co-star, RJ Barrett, turns up the notch when Randle shoots consistently. It doesn’t seem like the first time All-Star is ready to slow down anytime soon, and has shown impeccable stamina and consistency over the past few months. Additionally, veteran point guard Derrick Rose appears to be rejuvenated and even looks like the old self at times. Pairing Rose with Randle and Barrett turned out to be a lovely trio.