The Thunder fell to the Knicks on the second night of back-to-back games, 111-96. If OKC were competent and capable you might even call this a scheduling loss, following the grueling triple overtime win over the 76ers less than 24 hours ago. However, much of how the game unfolded is what we’ve seen many times, and the Thunder again slip to a game under .500.
The Thunder were without Steven Adams, who is in concussion protocol following last night’s game. However, the Knicks were also without their all-star Kristaps Porzingis, who was out with a knee injury. And you might have thought that, even missing their giant defensive anchor, the Thunder might be able to keep the Knicks to a reasonable shooting percentage, given that their starting small forward is Michael Beasley. Well...
The Thunder managed to hold the Porzingis-less Knicks to 55% shooting from the field and 61% from 3-point range, and Beasley, who was starring for the Shandong Golden Stars 2 years ago, managed to score 30 on OKC’s absent-minded defense on 11-18 shooting.
In Carmelo Anthony’s grand return to NYC, he struggled to a 12 point night on 5-18 shooting. Russell Westbrook somehow rebounded from last night’s marathon to lead the team with 25-7-7, but apart from another Paul George below-average shooting night, most of the rest of the team’s energy came from the bench. The 2nd unit combined for 34 points, with Patrick Patterson and Ray Felton shooting a combined 6-9 from 3-point range. Alas it didn’t matter, as the defense never woke up in the 2nd half and OKC is once again left to ponder what it will take to designate themselves as a ‘winning’ team.