The Oklahoma City Thunder win 95-94 in a duel to the end against the New York Knicks Thursday. Carmelo Anthony didn’t make an appearance after leaving the game Monday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Anthony fell to the floor after taking a pass at about half court in the second quarter against the Cavaliers. Anthony held his right knee in pain before leaving the game.
Kevin Durant scored 34 points and added eight rebounds and six assists in the win over the Knicks. Russell Westbrook finished with 21 points, six rebounds, and five assists.
The Thunder were down six points going into the final quarter before Durant sank two key free throws with just over a minute left in the game. J.R. Smith led the Knicks with 36 points but missed a turnaround jumper as time expired to end the game.
Smith came off the bench to lead everyone on the floor in scoring, including Durant and Westbrook. Amare Stoudemire came off the bench as well, scoring 16 points and adding eight rebounds in nearly 29 minutes of play.
Serge Ibaka and Kevin Martin were the only other Thunder players in double-figures Thursday as Oklahoma City won their third straight game. The Thunder beat both the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers earlier this week before sneaking past the Knicks.
The New York Knicks practically gave away the game in the fourth, shooting just 4 for 18 as a team on the quarter. The Knicks went one for nine behind the arc during the fourth as well, opening the door about as wide as you can for a team that is as talented as any in the Thunder.
The Knicks are now 37-22 and take on the Utah Jazz Saturday. The Knicks have been the best team in the Atlantic Division and are second only to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have posted even better numbers than the Knicks, at 45-16 on the season. The Thunder face off with the worst team in the league Friday, the Charlotte Bobcats. The Bobcats have lost eight straight games.
Carmelo Anthony is day-to-day, and Knicks head coach Mike Woodson is optimistic Anthony will be on the floor Saturday against the Jazz. Whether Anthony is ready or not, you can be sure J.R. Smith will continue to see a lot of time.
Kevin Durant is posting an MVP-like season about as quietly as you can. Durant is averaging 28.7 points a game, tops in the NBA. LeBron James is expected to duel it out with Durant for the MVP as we close in on the playoffs.
The Thunder hold a five game lead over the Denver Nuggets in the Northwest and are just two-and-a-half games back of the San Antonio Spurs in the conference. The Thunder win and continue to move closer to a playoff berth as questions arise in New York over the knee injury to Carmelo Anthony that has kept him sidelined all week.