Notebook: Thunder 95, Knicks 94



Posted Mar 7, 2013 11:52 PM

Adam Zagoria, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Kevin Durant went for 34 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Russell Westbrook had 21 points, six rebounds and five assists as the Oklahoma City Thunder won their third straight, defeating the Knicks, 95-94, in a back-and-forth thriller at Madison Square Garden.

In the absence of Carmelo Anthony (stiff knee), J.R. Smith led the Knicks with 36 points, including 6-of-13 from the arc, but he misfired on a 3-point attempt with 32 seconds left and a 2-point attempt as time expired. Either shot would've put the Knicks ahead.

Amar'e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton added 16 apiece for the Knicks.

Kevin Martin added 16 points and Serge Ibaka 12 for the Thunder, who hadn't played at the Garden since December 2010.

QUOTABLE: "I tried to get to my spot where I really wanted to get to. A turnaround jumper's a tough shot in that situation. I really should've went to the basket and take a page out of LeBron's book yesterday and just try to go to the basket. Worse comes to worst, get the foul. But it didn't work quite there. My jumper was pretty much good all night except for the fourth quarter and it just didn't go in." -- Smith.

THE STAT: The Thunder went 25-of-29 from the free throw line, while the Knicks went 14-of-14.

TURNING POINT: After Durant put the Thunder up 95-94 with two foul shots with 1:38 remaining, Smith missed a 3-pointer from the left wing with 32 seconds left. Durant missed a two-point attempt and the the Knicks got the ball back with 7.9 seconds left. Smith backed down Westbrook but misfired on a 2-point shot from the left wing as time expired.

QUOTABLE II: "The play was for J.R. And I thought once he actually caught it, he looked up at the clock and he caught it and faced. He could've just gone with it. He could've ripped through and gone to the rim but he didn't and he settled...It was a helluva game and they played their hearts out against one of the best teams in the league."
-- Knicks coach Mike Woodson on Smith's last attempt

WHO'S HOT: Smith scored 30+ for the first time as a Knick and the first time since March 12, 2011, when he was with Denver. His career-high is 45.

WHO'S NOT: The Knicks got two points, one rebound and no assists from starting two guard Iman Shumpert.

QUOTABLE III: "Eventually Carmelo will be back, they're going to be as good as any team in the East."
-- OKC coach Scott Brooks

NOTABLE: 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).

QUOTABLE IV: "We knew that they were going to run some plays and make us switch and Russell Westbrook is one of our best defenders. He's been defending his entire career, but I thought he did a great job making them take a tough shot."
-- Brooks on the last shot.

NOTABLE II: 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.

INSIDE THE ARENA: The 2013 Sports Illustrated swimsuit models, David Duchovny, Derek Trucks, Bernard King, Anthony Mason and John Starks sat courtside.

UP NEXT: For the Knicks, Saturday vs. Utah, Monday @ Golden State, Wednesday @ Denver. For the Thunder, Friday @ Charlotte, Sunday vs. Boston, Monday @ San Antonio.