By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
THUNDER 123, KNICKS 94 | MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
How it happened:
Billed as a showdown between the NBA's top two scorers, things took a turn for the worse when Carmelo Anthony was ruled out about an hour before tipoff. After turning an ankle in Orlando on Monday, Melo worked tirelessly with the training staff but ultimately the team decided to hold him out.
Without their star -- or their starting point guard, Raymond Felton -- the Knicks were no match for the deep, talented Thunder. Systematically, Oklahoma City broke down the New York defense, sharing the ball and imposing its will on the shorthanded Knicks from the opening tip.
Kevin Durant scored 13 points in the 1st quarter and would finish with the game with 29 points in 32 minutes. Russell Westbrook, who struggled with his shot, still managed to impact the game, posting a triple-double early in the third and finishing with 14 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in 29 minutes.
J.R. Smith shouldered some of the scoring load, scoring 20 points in Anthony's absence, Amar'e Stoudemire turned in an efficient 23-point performance, and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 21, but with the Knicks down 14 points by halftime, they wouldn't affect the outcome.
Knick of the Night:
Iman Shumpert played as hard as anyone on the court this afternoon, although his stat line doesn't necessarily reflect it. He finished with 8 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.
The Knicks hope to rebound on Friday as Toronto comes to the Garden.