Knicks, Thunder Showdown On National Stage

Scouting Report

By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)

Knicks vs. Thunder | Chesapeake Energy Arena
When: Sunday | 1:00 PM
Where to Watch: ABC
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
Knicksnow Live In-Game Chat

Team Reports

New York: With the 1972-73 Championship team in the house, the Knicks rose to the occasion to extend their streak to 11 games. They started slow -- mostly an issue of not making shots and a few lapses in covering some of Milwaukee's shooters -- but poured it on in the third quarter and by the end of the night, it was a party like the 10 before it were. Now, with a healthy 2 1/2-game lead on the Pacers for the 2 seed, they head to Oklahoma City for a showdown with one of the league's elite.

Oklahoma City: The Thunder may not have the guady win streak of some of the other great teams this year, but they are on the short list of title favorites. They boast the best point differential in the NBA and are second in offensive efficiency and fourth on defense. They are only 1/2 game behind the Spurs for the top seed in the West, and they have done it without James Harden, who has emerged as a true star since being traded to Houston.

Last Time Out

New York: The Knicks made the legends proud, beating Milwaukee, 101-83, on Friday. 

Oklahoma City: After beating the Spurs the night before, the Thunder traveled to Indiana and pounded the Pacers, 97-75, on Friday.

The Numbers Game

The Knicks are seeking their 12th straight win, which just happens to be the length of Oklahoma City's longest winning streak this year -- from November 24 to December 19.

Matchup to Watch

Carmelo Anthony vs. Kevin Durant

In a primtetime game like this, we have to go with the two biggest stars. Durant is threatening to lead the league in scoring for the fourth consecutive season, at 28.2 points a game. Melo (27.5) is right behind him, though, and he's turned it up a notch with two 40-point games and a 50-spot in the last three. You could argue that both are best-suited to playing power forward in smallball lineups, but both can fill it up from either forward spot.

What to Look For

Because Miami sat LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, this would have to be the greatest test for the Knicks during this run. Oklahoma City doesn't always do everything the way you'd want -- Russell Westbrook makes some bad decisions, the offense can be a little isolation-heavy and Scott Brooks gives Kendrick Perkins 25 minutes a night -- but, man, are they explosive.

Tyson Chandler has played in three straight games since returning from a neck injury, so it could be safe to assume his health will become less of an issue as the playoffs near. Kenyon Martin missed the Milwaukee game and we'll find out today if he'll play. 

For more news and notes on the team follow the New York Knicks and Charlie on Twitter.