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Thunder vs Knicks Preview: Can OKC Stifle New York Hype? (Correction)

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In a matchup features two scoring aces, keep an eye on the rookie who has got New York chanting his name.

Alabaster Ewing, the current incarnation of the legendary Patrick Ewing, will head the Knicks tonight.
Alabaster Ewing, the current incarnation of the legendary Patrick Ewing, will head the Knicks tonight.
William Bennett Berry

(Correction - previous version of story erroneously stated that Patrick Ewing is an assistant coach with the Pelicans. Ewing has been an assistant coach with the Charlotte Hornets since 2013. We regret the error)

Where They At: Oklahoma City Thunder

A victory against a banged-up New Orleans Pelicans, though not pretty, snapped OKC’s two-game skid. Russell Westbrook has been tremendous, with or without Kevin Durant.

The Thunder, not as good as expected, muster enough strength for the fifth spot in the Western Conference 12 games into the season. But they have yet to work out the inconsistency issue. Dion Waiters is like an epitome of Thunder basketball. Waiters can swish chunks of step-backs in good shape, but can also drive you nuts by blowing open layups.

Although shooting slumps occur, everyone with rotation minutes has already found his role offensively. OKC average 110.8 points per game, second only to the juggernaut Golden State Warriors. But OKC also allow the fifth most points in the league. Solidifying defense remains a task for Billy Donovan’s system to tackle.

Durant participated in practice Thursday but is likely to remain on the sideline Friday night, according to the New York Post. Bummer…

Where They At: New York Knicks

Carmelo Anthony, the franchise iron, and Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks future hope, have managed to lift the competitiveness of the Knicks coming off its worst season in their history. Currently on a two-game winning streak, the Knicks will expect to find more victory on road against OKC.

Porzingis, who got booed as the No.4 overall pick this June, has converted boos into "Por-zing-is'' chants at MSG and built up the hype on the captious stage. He has come off a career night (29 points and 11 rebounds) against the Hornets, a performance that Knicks legend Patrick Ewing (now an assistant coach with the Hornets) would appreciate.

The Matchup

One thing for sure - the Thunder will have more than a glance of the Alabaster Ewing Friday night. Porzingis can run the floor at 7-3 and his smooth shooting touch applies from under the rim to behind the arc. Stifling him can be a handful for the Thunder bigs.

The game features two top 10 scorers in the league with Westbrook(3) and Anthony(8). There is not doubt Westbrook will continue do it all in his 13 game to wear down his opponents. He has scored 40 and 43 points in the last two games and will seek for another monstrous night. Anthony will look to bounce back from a relatively quiet night (18 points on 6-of-18). Statistically speaking, both Westbrook and Anthony don’t shoot very well, but nobody knows what they are capable of doing once they find the rhythm.

Prediction: Oklahoma City 105 Knicks, 90

2015-16 NBA Season Game 13

@

6-6

7-5

November 20th, 2015

Oklahoma City, OK

7PM Central Standard Time

TV: NBA League Pass

Injury Report: Kevin Durant(hamstring), Lou Amundson(head)

This Season's Matchups: N/A

Probable Starters

Jose Calderon

PG

Russell Westbrook

Arron Afflalo

SG

Andre Roberson

Carmelo Anthony

SF

Anthony Morrow

Kristaps Porzingis

PF

Serge Ibaka

Robin Lopez

C

Steven Adams

h/t to @desusnice, who provided the inspiration for "Alabaster Ewing." Give him a follow on Twitter!