The Norman Transcript

National Sports

March 8, 2013

Thunder hold off ’Melo-less Knicks

NEW YORK — Kevin Durant had 34 points, including the go-ahead free throws with 1:38 left, and the Oklahoma City Thunder pulled out a 95-94 victory over the New York Knicks on Thursday night.

Russell Westbrook struggled over the final three quarters but finished with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists in the Thunder’s first trip to New York since Dec. 22, 2010. Durant also had eight boards and six assists.

Oklahoma City posted its third straight win, fighting off a spirited effort by a Knicks team missing Carmelo Anthony. The All-Star forward missed his second straight game with what the Knicks said is a stiff and sore right knee.

J.R. Smith scored a season-high 36 points for New York, but missed a turnaround jumper that would have won it as time ran out.

Neither team led by more than two points over the final 10 1/2 minutes. Durant scored 12 in the final period while Westbrook was shut out, hitting a pair from the line with 1:38 to play that made it 95-94.

Smith missed a 3-pointer but the Knicks had a final chance after Durant was off on a jumper with about 9 seconds to go. Smith got the ball in about the same spot where he had hit a winning jumper against Phoenix earlier this season, but his shot was long as the Knicks had their two game-winning streak snapped.

Anthony was hurt Monday in Cleveland, falling to the court without contact as he tried to catch a pass. Coach Mike Woodson said he is day to day and doesn’t believe the injury is serious, but the Knicks said the same about Jeremy Lin last season and others in recent years, so their fans won’t relax until they see Anthony back on the floor.

He surely would like that to be sometime before the Knicks visit Denver next Wednesday for his long-awaited first trip back since the Nuggets traded him in February 2011.

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