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NBA – Knicks silence Thunder, stretch streak to 12


PhilBoxing.com




NEW YORK – The scalding-hot New York Knicks, winners of 11 straight, took the NBA's longest current streak to the Chesapeake Energy Arena, home of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Against All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, and playing in a building where the Thunder were 33-5 entering yesterday's tip-off, win No.12 seemed like a long shot for New York.

But the Knicks turned implausible into deliciously possible, beating the Thunder 125-120. Thanks to Carmelo Anthony and a hail of 3-point shots.

Anthony finished with 36 points and 12 rebounds and the Knicks nailed 15 of 34 from beyond the 3-point arc. With his latest outburst, Anthony has now scored at least 35 points in four consecutive games, a feat no one has accomplished this season. His four-game total of 167 is second only to the 178 Bernard King piled in a four-game stretch during the 1984-85 season.

J.R. Smith added 22 of the bench while point guard Raymond Felton tallied 16 and eight assists for the Knicks, who reached 50 wins for the first time in 13 years.

On the strength of Chris Copeland's 13 points, some balanced scoring and a stingy defense, the Knicks, who sank 10 triples in the first two quarters, took a 65-56 halftime lead.

But the second half told a different tale as the Knicks got cold in the fourth quarter, leaving the door open for the Thunder to make a run.

And that's what exactly what the Thunder did, rally hard and eventually take a 105-104 lead after Durant hit a jumper with 6:57 left in the final period. The game swayed dangerously back and forth from that point on, but when Smith swished a 3 with 56.8 seconds left to play, the Knicks were beyond reach, 120-113.

“J.R. has been solid all year, he’s capable of hitting big shots. I was more impressed with how we held our composure. We just battled them from beginning to end. It was like an old school shootout with all offense that was displayed.” a relieved Knicks head coach Mike Woodson told reporters after a thrilling duel that was highlighted by 12 lead changes.

Westbrook paced the Thunder with 37 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists while Durant settled for 27. Kevin Martin chipped in 15, including a big 3 that shoved the Thunder to within 100-97 at the 8:51 mark of the fourth quarter.

With a 50-26 won-lost slate, the Knicks kept their place at No.2 in the Eastern Conference, 10 games behind the juggernaut that is the 60-16 Miami Heat, the NBA reigning and defending NBA champions.

The Thunder, meanwhile, fell to 56-21. With five games left in the regular season schedule, OKC is one game behind the 57-20 San Antonio Spurs for the top spot in the Western Conference. (Sharon Brennan)

Photo: Knicks ace Carmelo Anthony had 36 points to lead the Knicks past the Thunder, 125-120.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Sharon Brennan.


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