Monday, May 20, 2013
The Associated Press
NEW YORK - Kevin Durant had 34 points, including the go-ahead free throws with 1:38 left Thursday night, and the Oklahoma City Thunder pulled out a 95-94 victory against the New York Knicks.
Russell Westbrook struggled over the final three quarters but finished with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists in the Thunder's first trip to New York since Dec. 22, 2010. Durant also had eight boards and six assists.
Oklahoma City posted its third straight win, fighting off a spirited effort by a Knicks team missing Carmelo Anthony. He missed his second straight game with what the Knicks said is a stiff and sore right knee.
J.R. Smith scored a season-high 36 points for New York, but missed a turnaround jumper that would have won it as time ran out.
Neither team led by more than two points over the final 10½ minutes. Durant scored 12 in the final period while Westbrook was shut out, hitting a pair from the line with 1:38 to play that made it 95-94.
Smith missed a 3-pointer but the Knicks had a final chance after Durant was off on a jumper with about nine seconds to go. Smith got the ball in about the same spot where he had hit a winning jumper against Phoenix earlier this season, but his shot was long as the Knicks had their two game-winning streak snapped.
Anthony was hurt Monday in Cleveland, falling to the court without contact as he tried to catch a pass. Coach Mike Woodson said he is day to day and doesn't believe the injury is serious, but the Knicks said the same about Jeremy Lin last season and others in recent years, so their fans won't relax until they see Anthony back on the floor.
He surely would like that to be sometime before the Knicks visit Denver next Wednesday for his long-awaited first trip back since the Nuggets traded him in February 2011.
In the meantime the Knicks showed again they've got enough guys to compete without him, but not enough to beat a top team like the Thunder.
Raymond Felton and Amare Stoudemire each had 16 points for the Knicks, who were playing their fourth game in five nights against the rested and much more athletic Thunder.
Anthony's injury prevented a matchup between the NBA's top two scorers, his 28.2 points per game slightly behind the 28.6 Durant came in averaging as he tries to lead the league for the fourth straight season.
But it was still a loud crowd for the Thunder's first game here in more than two years. They weren't scheduled for a Madison Square Garden game in the lockout-shortened 2011-12.
BOBCATS: Guard Ramon Sessions will miss 2 to 4 weeks with a second-degree MCL sprain in his left knee.
Sessions' meniscus and ligaments are intact and he won't need surgery.
CAVALIERS: Coach Byron Scott said he would consider shutting down guard Kyrie Irving again if his right knee is still sore.
After scoring 20 points Wednesday night and leading the Cavs to a comeback victory against Utah, Irving said his knee still hurt and the only way it would get better is if he sat out the rest of the season. The Cavs recently rested Irving for three games after he hyperextended his knee when he banged it during practice.