The New York Knicks completed their six-game Western road trip in Denver Thursday night, and the Nuggets gave them something serious to consider on the flight home.

Denver, after leading by as many as 30 points, beat the Knicks, 116-109, which did little to enhance whatever feelings or job security Coach Willis Reed may have left. Reed has come under heavy criticism of late in what has been a rugged early season for the Knicks.

The Knicks dropped four of six games on the road swing. Their overall record now stands at 6-8, and while things could be worse it is not what the management at Gulf and Western - the club owners - had in mind.

"I respected Willis as a player and he'll do it as a coach," assured Denver Coach Larry Brown. "He had that big win at Seattle and no one else has done that yet."

Although the Knicks closed the losing margin Thursday to seven points, the game belonged entirely to Denver. The Nuggets led, 64-34, just before halftime and had more than enough cushion to offset the knicks' fourth-quarter rally.

Hawks 125, Clippers 101

John Drew scored a season-high 35 points to carry the Hawks past the Clippers. San Diego led, 61-60, at the half but Eddie Johnson, who finished with 24 points, helped give the Hawks a 91-80 lead with 1:18 left in the third period. Nick Weatherspoon had 25 points and Lloyd Free 23 for the Clippers.