What the cameras came to see, apparently, was Carmelo Anthony vs. Kevin Durant, and Durant had all the better of it. Then again, Durant guarded ‘Melo most of the game, and when he wasn’t well, Kendrick Perkins went after him at the 1:41 mark in the fourth, and Perk laid him low. By then, of course, it was academic: the Thunder were up by double digits; the Knickerbockers went on their unmerry way with yet another road loss, 112-100, certainly closer than what the Thunder did to them on Christmas day but still not the sort of thing that makes Mike Woodson feel better about his future.
Anthony wound up shooting 5-19 for 15 points, including 1-5 from beyond the arc, and collected five fouls for his trouble. The Knicks, sensibly, did not rely on ‘Melo for all their offense; both Raymond Felton and Amar’e Stoudemire knocked down 16, and Tyson Chandler and Iman Shumpert scored 12. (Shumpert got all his points from outside, hitting four of eight treys; he took only one shorter shot, and missed it.) While the Knicks were outrebounded by the Thunder 41-38, New York retrieved far more from the offensive glass (12 vs. 5), staying close early on with second-chance points.
Meanwhile, Durant, the master of first-chance points, threw down for 41 (12 of 22) and missed a triple double by one assist; KD trailed Perkins 11-10 in rebounds. Reggie Jackson put up 19 for the day; Derek Fisher led a relatively quiet OKC bench with ten.
Spotted in garbage time: former Thunderman Cole Aldrich, credited with one assist in one minute, and The Artest Currently Known As Metta World Peace, who hit his one and only shot.
Blazers, Lakers, then All-Star break. Not the scariest section of schedule, and it’s the last time the Thunder will see the Blazers in the regular season. (Portland is up 2-1 in the season series.) After the break: six in a row at home. Then again, the first opponent is Miami.