Thunder hold off J.R. Smith, Knicks as Melo sitsPosted by Inside Hoops
Kevin Durant had 34 points, including the go-ahead free throws with 1:38 left, and the Oklahoma City Thunder pulled out a 95-94 victory over the New York Knicks on Thursday night.
Russell Westbrook struggled over the final three quarters but finished with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists in the Thunder’s first trip to New York since Dec. 22, 2010. Durant also had eight boards and six assists.
Oklahoma City posted its third straight win, fighting off a spirited effort by a Knicks team missing Carmelo Anthony. The All-Star forward missed his second straight game with what the Knicks said is a stiff and sore right knee.
J.R. Smith scored a season-high 36 points for New York, but missed a turnaround jumper that would have won it as time ran out.
Neither team led by more than two points over the final 10 1/2 minutes. Durant scored 12 in the final period while Westbrook was shut out, hitting a pair from the line with 1:38 to play that made it 95-94…
Anthony was hurt Monday in Cleveland, falling to the court without contact as he tried to catch a pass. Coach Mike Woodson said he is day to day and doesn’t believe the injury is serious, but the Knicks said the same about Jeremy Lin last season and others in recent years, so their fans won’t relax until they see Anthony back on the floor…
Raymond Felton and Amare Stoudemire each had 16 points for the Knicks, who were playing their fourth game in five nights against the rested and much more athletic Thunder…
Oklahoma City G Ronnie Brewer didn’t play. Brewer was a starter for the Knicks to begin the season, but eventually lost his place in the rotation entirely after a lengthy slump and was dealt to the Thunder for a second-round pick at the trade deadline.
– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press
Anthony did not play for the second straight game because of fluid on his knee. “I’m not overly concerned,” Woodson said. “He’s day-to-day and eventually he’ll be back on the floor playing.” Woodson said he wanted to get Anthony back down to about 34-35 minutes per game instead of close to 40. Anthony sat out Wednesday’s 87-77 win in Detroit after falling to the floor during Monday’s win in Cleveland; he initially said he received treatment on the knee during halftime of Sunday’s loss to the Miami Heat. The Knicks are now 4-5 this year without Anthony, the NBA’s second-leading scorer (28.2)… Stoudemire remains on a 30-minute limit, but Woodson said that could change going forward. “Maybe his minutes will increase as we get closer to the playoffs or get in a playoff series,” said Woodson, adding that he wanted to protect Stoudemire until then.
– Reported by Adam Zagoria of NBA.com