New York Knicks Post Game: Knicks Beat Oklahoma City Thunder Despite 40 From Russell Westbrook


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New York Knicks Post Game: Knicks Pick Up Upset Victory Over Oklahoma City Thunder Despite A Big Game From Russell Westbrook

The New York Knicks were able to get back in the win column Wednesday night, picking up the victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Knicks caught a break tonight as Kevin Durant was sidelined again with a toe injury, but a win is a win. This was the fourth win in five games for the Knicks, which is only one less than they had the whole first half of the season. The Knicks are getting solid contributions from everyone who steps on the court, but the biggest difference is the effort being given. The Knicks have now won three straight games at Madison Square Garden after losing the previous 12. The Knicks will be right back at it tomorrow night, as they travel to take on the Indiana Pacers for the second night of their back-to-back.

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Player of the Game: Carmelo Anthony

Anthony was once again the leader for the Knicks. He set the tone offensively, pouring in 31 points on 12-28 from the field, making 1-2 from deep and 6-7 from the foul line. He also pulled down 10 rebounds, one of three Knicks to have double-digit boards on the night. He would add three assists and two steals to round out his strong stat line, also finishing with a game-high +15 plus/minus ratio.

Anthony looked to be hobbled a little bit towards the end of the game, grimacing while taking his free throws in the fourth quarter. With the season still not where the Knicks would like it to be, it would not be surprised to see the Knicks rest Anthony tomorrow, as he sat the second night of the last back-to-back the Knicks played.

-Strong Bench Duo

The Knicks had only two players, Lance Thomas and Tim Hardaway Jr., score off the bench, but it was more than enough for the second unit. Thomas strong play continued, as he is hoping to latch on to the Knicks for the remainder of the season as he plays out his second 10-day contract. Tonight he scored 17 points with five rebounds and one assist. He also had numerous plays that won’t show up in the box score, tipping passes and fitting into the team scheme the Knicks have embraced recently. Thomas had a little motivation tonight, as the Thunder are his former team, as he was a part of the three-team trade between the Knicks, Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Hardaway Jr. had his second straight strong offensive game, going 4-8 from the field, with all four makes coming from beyond the arc. Hardaway Jr. lacked confidence in the first half, but gained in the second half and become more aggressive, ending the game with 14 points. He also added two rebounds and two assists, as he continues to augment his game and bring more than just scoring to the table. He also had a nice block of Kendrick Perkins at the rim.

-Team Game

Anthony may have scored 31 points, but the Knicks didn’t have to rely on him solely to carry the team. They used a huge 10-0 run in the fourth quarter to put the game away, as other players such as Langston Galloway stepped up and helped get the team a win.

This was Galloway’s first game with his new contract, and he played free and with confidence. He finished the game with 18 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals. He also had the nearly impossible task of slowing down Russell Westbrook, but did a solid job of it, making him earn everything. Westbrook may have finished with 40 points, but it wasn’t overly efficient, as he went 13-30 with only four assists and four turnovers; he made a living at the foul line, knocking down all 12 of his attempts.

Another thing to point out just how smoothly the Knicks offense was running tonight was the 29 assists on 40 makes they had. The 100 points scored is only the 10th time this season they reached that plateau, but the second time in the last five games.

-Roles Becoming Clear

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One of the biggest things for the Knicks turnaround recently is because the players are not only gaining confidence but a comfortability in their roles. Derek Fisher has trimmed the rotation and everything has fallen into place. Players like Louis Amundson, who is out there to play defense and keep possessions alive. He also bangs on the boards and plays defense, as he pulled down 10 in 32 minutes to go with four blocks and two charges drawn. He is a hustle player that fits in with the new players the Knicks have.

Amundson’s frontcourt mate, Jason Smith, fits perfectly next to him, as the two have been a big reason in the turnaround. Smith is the more talented player offensively, complementing the defensive minded Amundson well. Tonight Smith finished with 11 points, and a career high six assists. He was also the third player in double-digits for rebounds, pulling down a team-high 11.

Everyone is adding something when they are put in the game, and some credit needs to be given to Fisher who is finally starting to push some of the right buttons and finding combinations of players that work.

Next: 6 Things To Look Forward To For New York Knicks' Second Half Of Season