NORMAN — OKLAHOMA CITY --Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant are two of the premier scorers in the NBA. They have been since they first entered the league.
However, over the past two years, it’s Durant who’s shown an ability to expand his game beyond a simple shooter. That showed again Sunday afternoon when he poured in 41 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists to lead the Thunder to a 112-100 victory over the Knicks at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“KD is a stat filler,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “He’s going to have many games, many opportunities here. He will have a large number of points, rebounds and assists.”
The Knicks (20-31) were still within striking distance of the Thunder when they entered the fourth quarter. Trailing by eight, the game was up for grabs.
But Oklahoma City (41-12) ended those hopes quickly as Durant and Ibaka helped push the lead to 15 with three minutes left in the contest.
New York’s Raymond Felton hit back-to-back buckets to close within 11. But a pair of Durant free throws put the game away and also put him over the 40-point mark for seventh time this season.
“For a while, we were there,” New York coach Mike Woodson said. “We cut it to six in the fourth quarter. Then we just let it slip away. Durant made some big plays. I thought we had some good shots coming down the home stretch. But we just couldn’t knock them in.”
Durant came up one assist shy of his third triple-double this season. He lobbied Brooks to let him stay in the game in the final minutes to pick it up. But was content with the team getting the win.
“It would’ve been cool to stay in,” Durant said. “But whatever. We won the basketball game. That’s all that matters. No doubt, it would have been cool to get that, but at the same time it’s all about the W. Glad we won.”