No Carmelo Anthony, and that was pretty much the beginning and the end of the Christmas story between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New York Knicks. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook (with a triple double) carried on with their excellent form, leading to a very impressive 123-94 road win.
It was the first time the Knicks lost a home game on Christmas, but considering how bad they’ve been this season, it’s not that surprising, especially with Anthony, Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni not playing.
Kevin Durant had a very easy time scoring, no matter who was guarding him. He finished with 29 points on 10-of-16 from the field, but he didn’t really stand out. Serge Ibaka scored 24 points on 10-of-14 from the field. The team shot 53.6% from the field and 54.2% from beyond the arc. It was that easy.
Russell Westbrook had himself a special game, and not just because he helped the mop boy clean up the floor. He finished with a triple double, the seventh of his career and the first in a Christmas game since 2010 (LeBron James), putting up 14 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. Westbrook, unlike the rest of his team, wasn’t really efficient in his shooting (5-of-15 from the field), but it didn’t really matter. The Knicks defended so badly around the perimeter, there was more than enough in order to make up for Westbrook’s bad decisions when he had to shoot the ball.
So the Thunder are championship contenders, doing well on the road, just like they’re doing at home. Did we learn something new? Not much, except that they can be cruel and ruthless against a team that was clearly out of the game from the second quarter onward. A team simply playing into the hands of a better team, trying to beat the Thunder by individualistic moves and selfish basketball, which of course was a recipe for disaster.
This was a bad game for the NBA as a business trying to sell showtime and interest, but it wasn’t exactly their fault. Anthony injured and the Knicks’ train wreck of a season wasn’t something anyone expected. This game being one of complete disparity wasn’t exactly an easy prediction to make. This was a great game for the Thunder if they needed a pick-me-up after losing to the Raptors, and just another awful night for Mike Woodson as he tries and get something going from this season, only to get blindsided from a different direction each time he thinks his team is starting to climb out of the hole they’re in.