Oklahoma City Thunder (44-16, 17-12 away) at New York Knicks (37-21, 21-9 home)
Where: Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
When: 7:00 pm
TV: TNT (245 DirecTV, 31 Cox, 108 AT&T U-Verse, 138 Dish)
Online Stream: Here.
Radio: WWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: OKC favored by
Official Game Notes: Here.
|PG:||Russell Westbrook||Raymond Felton|
|SG:||Thabo Sefolosha||James White|
|SF:||Kevin Durant||Carmelo Anthony|
|PF:||Serge Ibaka||Amar’e Stoudamire|
|C:||Kendrick Perkins||Tyson Chandler|
|6th:||Kevin Martin||JR Smith|
Last Time: Thunder beat the Knicks in their only meeting last season 104-92. It was pre-Jeremy Lin. Oklahoma City basically led the entire game, and it wasn’t really ever close.
Honestly, as weird as this is going to sound, this could be a potential NBA Finals match up. I doubt it, the Miami Heat are the clear favorites from the Eastern Conference. The New York Knicks come into this game, third in the Eastern Conference, and the Oklahoma City Thunder are ranked second in the Western Conference.
Oklahoma City is coming off a very impressive win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night. The Thunder led by as many as 18 points in the 122-105 victory. Russell Westbrook has found a way to really just obliterate anything the Lakers throw his way, and it continued this game. Westbrook dropped 37 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Los Angeles made a run of it towards the end of the game, getting within five points, but wasn’t enough as Oklahoma City held the Lakers scoreless over the final 6:14 of the game.
Last night the New York Knicks took on the Detroit Pistons in a game in the motor city and pulled out the 87-77 victory. Amar’e Stoudamire led the Knicks with 22 points as the Knicks played with out Carmelo Anthony who sat out with a knee injury. New York led at halftime, but some how the Pistons did their best and tied it up going into the fourth. The Knicks defense stood tall in the final frame, holding the Pistons to just 12 points.
Solid defense and a solid offense, that’s what you get when you get the New York Knicks. This isn’t your Isiah Thomas ran Knicks, these Knicks have a solid coach, and finally a team with some chemistry. They can score and limit you from scoring. They do not share well though. They’re 29th in the league. They’re only averaging 19.6 assists per game. They struggle to rebound as well. They’re averaging just 41.2 rebounds per game. They’re middle of the road on the offensive glass, grabbing 11.2 offensive boards. The Knicks shoot the ball well though, they’re sixth in the three-point shooting, 37 percent. They’re shooting almost 39 percent from deep at the Garden.
This is the first time that Knicks and the Thunder will meet in the 2012-13 season. Last season, the Knicks lost their only match up, as they traveled to Oklahoma City. The Thunder are 1-2 since moving to Oklahoma City at MSG. The Oklahoma City Thunder hold a 5-2 series lead since the move. Overall, the New York Knicks own the 62-56 lead.
Oklahoma City is really healthy tonight. So, there’s that. Oklahoma City has been really lucky, they’ve been one of the only teams in the league who’ve only played three starting line ups. Players haven’t missed too many games due to injury. No other injuries to report. Ibaka is not suspended.
The Knicks have three injuries tonight. First one is Rasheed Wallace. Wallace has been out since early January. He’s going to miss the entire season. Baron Davis is likely out for the season as well. He had knee surgery and is still recovering. I doubt we ever see him on the court again. Then is the big one, Carmelo Anthony. Anthony is recovering from a sore knee and is questionable for tonight’s game. He sat out last night’s game and coach Mike Woodson said there is a chance he could play tonight.
Keys to the Game
The league’s best team in taking care of the ball, Knicks against one of the worst. The Thunder did a fantastic job against the Lakers, tying an NBA record for lowest in a game, must do that again tonight. Cannot allow the Knicks to get good transition shots off turnovers. Could get the crowd into the game.
The Knicks rank sixth in three-point shooting. They’re a top four team when at home shooting. Oklahoma City needs to extend their length and find a way to force the knicks into contested jumpers. It’ll be a key to success.
At times this team has trouble closing games. The Thunder need to find out how to close games and quarters. We witnessed what closing looked like against the Lakers, keeping them scoreless the final six minutes of the game. We need another solid performance tonight.
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