Behind huge games from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Saturday night in New York the Oklahoma City Thunder topped the Knicks 121-118 in overtime. Durant (10-of-25, 14-of-15 free throws) scored 36 points, while Westbrook (13-of-23) was dominant with 31 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists.
For the Knicks, tonight marked the debut of new squad members Tracy McGrady, Eddie House and Sergio Rodriguez. And although victory narrowly eluded them, the results were more positive than anyone could have expected.
While Rodriguez provided a much bigger spark than his five points and six assists suggests, the Knicks were carried by David Lee’s 30 points (12-of-16), 10 rebounds and six assists, McGrady’s 26 points and five assists, and Eddie House’s 24 points and five rebounds off the bench.
Here’s what Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said after the game about McGrady and House:
“I thought it was really, really good. Just their intensity. Just the little things, getting the ball here and there. Talking in the timeouts. Talking going on the floor, understanding who they got. Just all the intangibles that they’re bringing. It’s something that we really work on, in a sence, that’s pretty good. As soon as they get used to each other a little bit better, Tracy gets his legs a little bit more. He kind of ran out of gas toward the end. Foul shots were tough, you saw it. But, not having played all year, a couple of years, almost, 26 points, not bad against a team that defends really well. They’re long and athletic. They’re palying well.”
More D’Antoni thoughts on McGrady:
“His basketball IQ is way up. He does that. He makes the soccer pass or the hockey pass, whatever you want to call it. Butu he does that. Obviously, he can score. He’s very intelligent on defense. He’s pointing and talking. The guy has been around and been an all-star a long time.”
Although the Knicks lost tonight, this was the most fun night of pro basketball Madison Square Garden has enjoyed in years. Unless you love watching amazing individual performances where one superstar shines while everyone else watches. Then, the shows LeBron James and Kobe Bryant put on in recent seasons eclipse tonight.
As for Rodriguez, he was a one-man carnival. In a good way. The guard flung himself all over the court on both ends of the floor, made tons of brilliant passes, and was an absolute joy to watch.
Great showing by the new Knicks, even in a loss.