THUNDER 104 KNICKS 92 F | CHESAPEAKE ARENA
How it happened:
Facing a raucous Oklahoma City crowd and the Western Conference’s top team without their leading scorer was a tall order for the Knicks in their final contest of a two-game road trip. On Saturday night, New York fell to 6-6 on the season in a 104-92 road loss to the surging 11-2 Thunder. After suggering a eft wrist sprain and a right ankle sprain in Thursday’s game against Memphis, Carmelo Anthony was unable to suit up, offering Bill Walker the opportunity to join the starting lineup. Walker was not the only new face in the starting five as head coach Mike D’Antoni opted for Mike Bibby in place of Landry Fields.
While Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks switched the assignments for his squad, an interesting cross-match developed as Bibby defended Sefolosha and Iman Shumpert guarded Russell Westbrook. James Harden was potent off the bench for the Thunder, registering 24 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the floor and three shots from downtown.
New York jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the early stages of the first quarter but the Thunder rallied late in the period with a 15-7 run over the final three minutes. Oklahoma City continued to apply pressure throughout the second quarter and built a strong 23-point lead by halftime.
Kevin Durant and Westbrook were as dynamic as expected with a combined 49 points in the game. For the Knicks, Amar’e Stoudemire received most of the defensive attention from Oklahoma City and was limited to 14 points in 32 minutes. Toney Douglas was productive in the second half, scoring 14 points in only 14 minutes of court time.
Interesting that New York won the battle on the boards, 43-38 and second chance points, 15-7.
Tyson Chandler showed grit during a difficult outing for the Knicks. The big man battled on each possession, shooting 100% on the floor resulting in14 points: 3-for-3 from the floor and 8-for-8 at the charity stripe.
Josh Harrellson is 6-10, 275 pounds and the big man proved that he knows how to take advantage of his size, displaying his range on Saturday night in Oklahoma . When the Knicks offense sputtered, Harrellson jumped off the bench to score 10 of his 12 points in the first half. As the Thunder's defense collapsed on Stoudemire, the rookie moved out to the 3-point line where he connected on 2-for-5 for the night.
The Knicks completed their two-game road trip and now head back to New York with a day to prepare for the Magic on Monday night.