Defense was nonexistent on the part of the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday afternoon as they hosted the New York Knicks.
The Knicks beat the Thunder 125-120 thanks to 15-for-34 three-points shooting, 19 offensive rebounds and just six turnovers.
Those numbers were just impossible for the Thunder to overcome, even though they had no problem scoring themselves.
OKC just couldn’t get the stops when they needed them as New York’s small lineups made the Thunder look confused and a step slow on defense all game long.
Carmelo Anthony finished 36 points and 12 rebounds. Other X-factors included J.R. Smith scoring 22, Raymond Felton scoring 16, Jason Kidd scoring 14 and Chris Copeland scoring 13.
Here are the Game Grades:
Kevin Durant – 45 minutes, 27 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists – B
The Knicks double-teamed Durant all game and switched every screen he ran off of. This is why Durant only took 17 shots and never seemed to find much of a rhythm. Everything was isolation for him and the Thunder were better off going elsewhere on offense, which they did late in the game. I would have liked to see Durant handling the ball more in the pick-and-roll which would have made it tougher for the Knicks to double-team him.
Russell Westbrook – 34 minutes, 37 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists – A
Westbrook took over this game in the third quarter. He did so by attacking the New York defense at odd times when they weren’t set and finishing an amazingly high percentage of off-balanced layups in the paint. His jumper was working too and that’s how he ended up with 37. He turned the ball over only once which is impressive to see from Westbrook when he has such a high usage rate in a game.
Serge Ibaka – 32 minutes, 13 points, 6 rebounds, 5 blocks – C+
Ibaka shot perfectly from the field making all six of his shots including one three-pointer. He also was a force inside early in the game when he blocked most of his five shots. But Ibaka was lost all game defensively. The smaller Knicks lineups really confused him and the Knicks basically abused him. It’s unfair to point the finger at one player but Ibaka was definitely the most responsible for the poor Thunder defense.
Kevin Martin – 24 minutes, 15 points, 1 assist, 3 rebounds – B
Martin scored 12 of his points in the first half then was very quiet in the second. That’s expected from Martin these days. He was aggressive and knocked down all three of his three-point attempts but you were left wanting a little bit more from him. He’s just so bad defensively too that he can hardly challenge a player like J.R. Smith one-on-one. That makes it hard for Scott Brooks to play him.
Kendrick Perkins – 23 minutes, 5 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal – C+
The initial plan looked to be to play Perkins whenever Tyson Chandler was on the floor. Brooks went away from this with the Thunder trailing late since they needed more scoring out there. That may have actually been the wrong move since the Thunder played so poorly defensively. You know Perkins would have been better in that department than Ibaka.
Thabo Sefolosha – 30 minutes, 8 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals – B
He made two threes which is always a bonus and his defense was fine. The Knicks just made a lot of tough shots.
Nick Collison – 17 minutes, 2 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists – B
The problem with Collison is that he is too small to match up with someone like Chandler. He kind of got man-handled down low trying to get rebounds a few possessions and that’s why Brooks went to Ibaka instead of him. Theoretically, it makes sense to play Collison over Ibaka in the situation the Thunder were in yesterday, but since he was too small it wasn’t working out.
Reggie Jackson – 21 minutes, 13 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds – A+
Jackson looked like James Harden in the fourth quarter last night. He was running the high pick-and-roll and getting to the rim at will. He basically took over for a large portion of the game. Some silver lining from this game is that it was a huge confidence booster from Jackson who the Thunder will need to play like this in the playoffs.
Derek Fisher – 13 minutes, 0 points – C-
Fisher accounted for nothing in his 13 minutes. He did miss all three of his shots and commit one foul.
Scott Brooks – C+
It seemed like playing Ibaka late was probably the wrong move since the Thunder needed stops more than anything and Ibaka was so lost on defense. Also, why not Ronnie Brewer against his former team in a matchup that is perfect for him? Brooks must hate him. Loved the trust in going to Jackson late. Should have tried to use Durant differently on offense to get him going but probably saw good things still coming from him being double-teamed (KD had seven assists) so that’s why he didn’t adjust.