Sunday, April 7, 2013

Knicks Top Thunder as Win Streak Reaches 12

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

Post Game Recap

Final Score: New York Knicks: 125 Oklahoma City Thunder: 120

The Knicks were doubted by many people heading in Oklahoma City today but left the arena by putting the rest of the Eastern Conference and NBA on alert; this is a team that means business.  The game was billed as Carmelo Anthony vs. Kevin Durant but it turned out to be much more than that as the Knicks needed a total team effort to drop the Thunder today.  The win today brings the Knicks to 50 on the season, the first time they have reached that plateau since the 1999-2000 season, and puts their magic number for the Atlantic Division at one.  The Knicks will look to extend their win streak and lockup the division title Tuesday against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden.


  • To put in perspective just how good of a win this was the Knicks, keep in mind that the Knicks had previously never won in Oklahoma City, not against the Thunder or even when the Hornets were relocated there. Couple that with the fact that the Thunder surrender only 96.5 points on 42.5 percent on the season and came into the game with a 33-5 home record makes it even more impressive.  The Knicks were able to shoot 49.5 percent from the field today and put up 125 points, as six different players scored in double figures. A big reason the Knicks were so successful on the offensive end was the lower turnover amount; the Knicks made only six turnovers in the game today, allowing them to get into a rhythm on offense that the Thunder were unable to break.

  • Another catalyst in the victory tonight for the Knicks was the work they did on the glass.  The Knicks have been one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA, ranking 24th with 40.6 rebounds per game. That looked to be an area of concern coming into the game, as the Thunder ranked 6th in the NBA with 43.6 rebounds per game.  Someone forget to tell the Knicks this though, as they actually outrebounded the Thunder today 41-37.  A big reason for that is the work the Knicks did on the offensive glass, grabbing 19 offensive rebounds, led by nine from Anthony. 

  • Speaking of Anthony, he once again had an amazing day.  Anthony is off Earth right now and playing on another planet, as he became the first player since Shaquille O’Neal to score 36 points on 50 percent shooting and grab 12 rebounds in consecutive games, as Anthony finished with 36 points and 12 rebounds this afternoon.  It was another efficient scoring game for Anthony, who went 12 of 29 from the field, three of six from the three point line and three of four from the charity stripe.  That puts Anthony at 167 points scored in his last four games, with an even more telling stat being that he has only six turnovers over that span as well.  Anthony is locked in right now on the offensive end and there does not seem to be anyone that will change that anytime soon.  With the performance today Anthony also passed Kevin Durant for NBA scoring race, pushing his points per game average to 28.44, compared to Durant’s 29.40.

  • Tyson Chandler responded well tonight after looking out of place in the last three games since coming back from his knee and neck injury.  He had a big game for the Knicks, who were once again shorthanded up front.  Chandler finished with 15 points, five rebounds and two blocks today, making his presence felt on the defensive end as his length and athleticism bothered the Thunder at points of the game.

  • The bench came up big for the Knicks tonight.  Being shorthanded once again, Chris Copeland and Steve Novak received extended minutes and made the most of their opportunities. Copeland was especially impressive, scoring 13 points on five of nine from the field, two of three from deep and one of two from the foul line while grabbing three rebounds, handing out three assists and getting a block.  Novak did his thing but knocking down two of his four three point attempts and added two rebounds of his own. 

  • Not to be forgotten off the Knicks bench is Jason Kidd and J.R. Smith.  Kidd was hot to start the game, knocking down two earlier three pointers for the Knicks and carried the momentum throughout the game, knocking down four of six three point attempts and five of eight from the field for 14 points.  Kidd stuffed the stat sheet like Knick fans have become accustomed to seeing, as he grabbed six rebounds, handed out two assists and had two steals.  Smith once again came up big for the Knicks in the fourth quarter, sealing the game with two huge shots in the final 90 seconds of the game.  A step-back jumper and 28-foot three pointer as the shot clock expired on back-to-back possessions sealed a Knicks victory.  Smith scored 22 points on the afternoon, adding seven rebounds and four assists to his stat line.

  • The only negative that can be taken from this game was the lack of defense the Knicks played.  The Thunder have two of the best offensive players in the game in Durant and Russell Westbrook, so slowing the Thunder down isn’t the easiest of tasks and it showed today.  Those two combined for 64 points, as the Knicks struggled to slow down really anyone as Reggie Jackson, Kevin Martin and Thabo Sefolosha all lit the Knicks up from the perimeter; three pointers and attacking from there. Serge Ibaka also went six for six, as the Thunder shot 57.7 percent from the field, 52.9 percent from the three point line and 84 percent from the foul line.

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