Jan 14 2012; Oklahoma City OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0) gets congratulated by shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha (2), power forward Serge Ibaka (9) and small forward Kevin Durant (35) against New York Knicks during the third quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports

OKC Thunder (44-16) vs. New York Knicks (37-21) Preview

The Oklahoma City Thunder will travel to take on the New York Knicks at 8 p.m. EST at Madison Square Garden.

This will be the first meeting this season between the two teams.

The big question coming in is the status of Caremlo Anthony who is currently listed as day-to-day with a knee injury. Anthony left early from New York’s game vs. Cleveland on Monday and did not play last night vs. the Detroit Pistons.

The Knicks have been playing well of late even without Anthony. They have won five of their last six games with the only loss coming to the Miami Heat.

New York comes into tonight with the third most efficient offense in the NBA behind only the Heat and the Thunder, who are first.

The Knicks are right in the middle of the pack when it comes to defense. They go small a lot but have some good perimeter defenders in Iman Shumpert and Jason Kidd that might be able to slow down Russell Westbrook somewhat.

Slowing down Kevin Durant is another story. Without Anthony, the Knicks will be in trouble trying to stop the leading scorer in the league right now.

The Knicks will have to win with great offense too. They will need to knock down threes and get good penetration from Raymond Felton. Then Tyson Chandler will need a big game on the offensive glass as well.

All of these things could happen but while the Thunder aren’t the best defense in the league, they have the athletes to make things like getting open three-point shots tougher to come by for a team like New York.

The Thunder have also won five of their last six and with the way Westbrook has been playing lately, it’s hard to imagine them losing to anyone.

Westbrook has been averaging 32.2 points, 5.8 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game over the Thunder’s last six games. Since the start of February, Westbrook has actually been scoring more than Durant.

The game will tip at 8 p.m. EST tonight and air nationally on TNT.

Tags: New York Knicks Oklahoma City Thunder

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