While the Oklahoma City Thunder did a great job in containing Carmelo Anthony and ruining the game for the New York Knicks, Kevin Durant provided the spark on offense with another tremendous, MVP-like game from him, almost ending in a triple double.
The Thunder didn’t squash the Knicks like in their Christmas encounter, but were good enough to come away with the 112-100 win, as Kevin Durant finished scoring 41 points, adding 11 rebounds and 9 assists in yet another performance that will add some voted in his direction when it comes to do the MVP voting.
On the other end, the “best natural scorer” (whatever that means) in the NBA found out life can be difficult when you decide that you’re not going to pass to your teammates while the defense sends players your way at every opportunity. Anthony didn’t find a clear path to the basket, so he took bad shots, resulting in a 5-of-19 game from him, scoring 15 points, adding 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
The Knicks defense wasn’t at the same level, showing how bad they are in defending the pick and roll. Durant was 8-of-13 from the field, scoring 20 points on the pick & roll, and was sent to the line 16 times when attacking the basket or pulling up for shots in other type of plays. In short, the Knicks had no answer for him, just like the rest of the NBA on most nights.
You can double him but he’s a willing passer now and he’s finding people all over the place. He was good tonight, real good.
The Thunder got a strong offensive performance from pretty much everyone, feeding off Durant’s passing. Serge Ibaka finished with 16 points, Reggie Jackson added 19 and Thabo Sefolosha scored 12. The Thunder had 28 assists on their 40 field goals, and shot 54.8% from the field, 44.4% from beyond the arc.
Durant was pretty good on the defensive end as well. It doesn’t always happen, but when he gets the right kind of help from the team’s defensive scheme, he can look like quite the capable, maybe even all-defensive defender, while Anthony had no way to get to the lane, and not a quick enough mind in this game to get rid of the ball without shooting it.
He missed some shots that he normally makes. I just tried to play as strong as I can, contest some shots and not get discouraged when he hits them because he makes tough shots and he’s a guy that can get hot. I just try to rely on my teammates, and they did a great job of helping me out, building a wall behind me, and I just tried to play as hard as I can.
This is a loss that the Knicks can live with, considering where they played and the rival, but there’s not too much time left for them to try and get this season in order and join the top 8 in the Eastern conference playoff race.
For the Thunder, this was back to business after the last second loss to the Orlando Magic, with Kevin Durant playing great, but the best thing about it is that it seems this kind of performance isn’t something you can’t expect from him on almost every game, which is slightly scary when you think about it, trying to think about the other teams the Thunder have to face.