Driving to the basket in crunch time, Raymond Felton slipped to the floor and lost the basketball in the process. All he could do was lunge back at it and bat it toward J.R. Smith as the shot clock ticked closer to zero.
For the second straight possession, Smith beat the buzzer - this time with a 3-pointer - and the Knicks closed out a 125-120 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday.
”He makes plays like that. He makes tough shots. Sometimes I think he likes to take the tougher shot than the easier shot. They still go in,” said teammate Carmelo Anthony, who had 36 points and 12 rebounds while moving ahead of Kevin Durant to become the NBA’s top scorer.
”That shot, it was a nail in the coffin.”
Smith finished with 22 points, including the two biggest shots of the game. He connected on a 23-foot jumper from the right wing as the 24-second clock expired to put New York up 117-113 with 1:30 to play, then swished a 3-pointer with 56.8 seconds left that all but sealed New York’s 50th win of the season…
The victory was the Knicks’ 12th in a row and put them at 50 wins for the first time in 13 years. They also moved 2 1/2 games ahead of Indiana for second place in the Eastern Conference and moved onto the doorstep of clinching the Atlantic Division title.
Russell Westbrook had 37 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for Oklahoma City, which fell a game behind San Antonio for first place in the West with five games left.
– Reported by Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press