Rapid Reaction: Knicks 125, Thunder 120
April, 7, 2013
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
WHAT IT MEANS: Sunday's game was billed as a matchup between Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony, the top two scorers in the NBA.
But it turned into the J.R. Smith Show late in the fourth quarter.
Smith sealed the Knicks' 125-120 win with two huge shots in the final 90 seconds. He hit a deep jumper to give New York a four-point lead with 1:30 to play, and followed that with a 28-foot 3 at the end of the shot clock on the next possession to give the Knicks a comfortable seven-point edge.
New York has won 12 straight, the team's longest win streak since 1994 and the third-longest in franchise history.
The Knicks also have 50 wins for the first time since 1999-2000 and are one win or one Nets loss away from their first Atlantic Division title since 1994.
MELO VS. KD: Anthony passed Durant for the lead in the NBA scoring race.
Anthony, who entered Sunday just 0.05 points per game behind Durant, poured in 36 points on 15-for-29 shooting. Durant scored 27 points.
Anthony gave the Thunder trouble in the paint all afternoon. He finished with 12 rebounds, nine of which came on the offensive end.
BIG DAY FOR BENCH: The Knicks got 55 points from the bench. Smith led the way with 22 points and was joined by Jason Kidd (14 points), Chris Copeland (13, all in the first half) and Steve Novak (six).
Smith missed seven of nine 3-point attempts but made his final try, which sealed the win for New York, which nearly squandered a 12-point fourth-quarter lead.
BIG DAY FOR CHANDLER: Tyson Chandler looked as healthy as he has since coming back from a recent neck injury. The All-Star center finished with 15 points and five rebounds in 39 minutes.
Raymond Felton scored 16 points and dished out eight assists, and poked the ball out to Smith on his big 3 with a minute to play.
Russell Westbrook led the way for OKC with 37 points. Serge Ibaka had 13 points and five blocks.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks will take on the Washington Wizards at home on Tuesday.
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