The Oklahoma City Thunder escaped Madison Square Garden last night with a 95-94 win over the New York Knicks, who were without Carmelo Anthony for the game.
The Knicks rode a spark from J.R. Smith off the bench to surge into the lead by the start of the fourth quarter. Smith led New York with 36 points on the night and made six three-pointers.
Smith missed the potential game-tying shot as time expired when Russell Westbrook forced him into a fadeaway from the left wing and the shot came up short.
The Thunder improve to 45-16 on the year and have now won six of their last seven games. They’ll play again tonight on the road vs. the Charlotte Bobcats.
Here are the Game Grades:
Kevin Durant – 44 minutes, 34 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists – A-
Durant looked like he wanted to have a gigantic night playing in MSG for the only time this season. He was gunning late but ended up doing most of his work from the free throw line where he was 14-for-15. Durant struggled holding on to the ball too and turned it over seven times on the night, often while trying to make difficult passes.
Russell Westbrook – 36 minutes, 21 points, 5 assists, 6 rebounds – B
Westbrook came out on fire again and scored 15 points in the first quarter. Then he really cooled off and that was a big reason why the Knicks were able to come back and take the lead. Westbrook was settling for a lot of jumpers and couldn’t get to the rim late as much as he did early on.
Serge Ibaka – 40 minutes, 12 points, 9 rebounds, 5 blocks – A-
Ibaka played a lot of minutes probably because he was a real presence inside blocking shots early on. The Knicks went small and the Thunder followed suit with Ibaka at the center spot for most of the night. He went 5-for-7 from the field as well.
Kevin Martin – 32 minutes, 16 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists – B+
It was a rare game for Martin in which he had all-around numbers. He’s getting better at creating for teammates in the Thunder offense. He was really efficient shooting too as he went 4-for-6 from the field and 3-for-5 from behind the three-point line.
Kendrick Perkins – 20 minutes, 2 points, 8 rebounds, 1 block – C+
There was not a lot of need to play Perkins last night with the Knicks using so many small lineups. Perkins rebounded well while he was out there but that was about it.
Thabo Sefolosha – 31 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 2 steals – C
Sefolosha only took two shots in the game and missed what was his only three-point attempt. He would have been much more valuable had Anthony played but really he was only used to space the floor last night and didn’t get a lot of looks.
Nick Collison – 10 minutes, 0 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist – B
Collison did not score and only took one shot but the Thunder outscored New York by eight in his 10 minutes. Other than that, nothing really stood out for Collison last night.
Reggie Jackson – 12 minutes, 8 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal – A-
Jackson was great again and last night made both of his three-point attempts. He also finished at the rim on a tough drive to the basket. It keeps feeling more and more like he will become a huge weapon for the Thunder very soon.
Derek Fisher – 15 minutes, 0 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal – D
It’s very troubling that Fisher is playing this much while someone like Ronnie Brewer is just sitting at the end of the bench. Fisher went 0-for-4 from the field and 0-for-2 from three last night.