OKLAHOMA CITY — The past three seasons, Kevin Durant has taken on all comers. Whether it was LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, no matter who came after the Oklahoma City All-Star for the NBA scoring title, he found a way to hold them off.
Durant may have met his match this season. New York’s Carmelo Anthony was in full scoring-machine mode Sunday when the Knicks paid a visit to Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Anthony scored 36 points and grabbed nine offensive rebounds to lead New York to a 125-120 win over Oklahoma City and extend the Knicks’ win streak to 12 games. He also took over the NBA scoring lead in the process.
“This is probably one of the biggest wins we’ve had in a long time,” Anthony said. “Just for the simple fact it was on the road, it was against a great Thunder team. For us to come out here and keep our composure on the road and win here. This is a tough place to win.”
It was only the second home loss since the All-Star break for the Thunder. Durant said the team is not ready to push the panic button.
“We have five more games to go,” Durant said. “We lost a tough one. This team shot the ball well, hit some tough shots all night. We forced them to shoot some tough ones, and they hit them.”
Despite that, it was a game Oklahoma City had its chances to take.
The Knicks (50-26) led 112-111 with 3:30 left in the game. Russell Westbrook, who had just scored four straight points, turned the ball over. Anthony made the Thunder (56-21) pay when he bulled his way to the basket and put back his own miss.
After a Raymond Felton free throw for New York, Westbrook knocked down a jumper to get Oklahoma City within 115-113. The Knicks’ J.R. Smith answered with consecutive 3-pointers to put the Thunder away.