Durant Bests Melo, Knicks
It was hyped as a showdown between the NBA's top two scorers but the showdown fizzled when the NBA's top scorer lit up the New York Knicks and helped shut down the number two scorer.
Kevin Durant just missed a tripe-double with 41 points (his seventh 40-point game this season), 10 rebounds and nine assists. He would have had the triple if teammate Serge Ibaka hadn't blown a dunk off a Durant assist and might have still had one if Ibaka had taken a wide open jumper after KD passed him the ball but Serge also passed it off to Reggie Jackson who then missed his shot.
The NBA's second leading scorer, the Knicks Carmelo Anthony, was held in check, mostly by Durant, and finished with just 15 points on 5-for-19 shooting as the Thunder beat New York 112-100.
Durant was taken out with 1:24 to go in the game and he admitted, "it would have been cool," to get the triple double but he also said, "but it doesn't matter, we won the game and that's what's important."
Durant also acknowledged that playing defense on this team is important too.
"If you wanna play on this team you have to take pride on defense. I just try to play as hard as I can by using my length and my quickness to my advantage."
Durant led the way on Melo but the Thunder also doubled up and even tripled him a few times.
"It was a total team effort on their behalf," Anthony said after the game. "They just loaded up on me every time I caught it. They made it tough."
The Thunder finished with five players in double figures, Durant led all scorers with his 41. Reggie Jackson added 19, Serge Ibaka had 16 points and nine rebounds, Thabo Sefolosha added 12 and Derek Fisher hit a couple of threes and finished with 10 points.
The Thunder handed out 28 assists and turned it over just 12 times while outscoring the Knicks on the fast break 15-4.
It was a now bounce back win after the Thunder blew a big lead in Orlando and lost to the Magic on Friday night.
Oklahoma City is now 41-11 in "bounce back" games since the start of the 2011-12 season.
No practice for the Thunder tomorrow, just an afternoon plane flight to Portland where they will have another showdown game with the Trail Blazers on Tuesday night, then down to L.A. for a game with the Lakers on Thursday.