NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, January 11th (All times eastern)
New York Knicks (15-21) at Oklahoma City Thunder (20-16), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The suddenly competitive New York Knicks resume a quick two-game road trip in Oklahoma City against the much-improved Thunder.
The Knicks dropped the opener of their trek in Houston on Saturday but have been playing much better basketball lately. Luis Scola poured in 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds, as the Rockets used a strong second half to defeat New York, 105-96, in that one.
David Lee ended with 26 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists for the Knicks, who had won their previous three games. Nate Robinson tallied 20 points. Wilson Chandler finished with 17 points and six rebounds for New York, which was outscored, 54-39, in the second half.
"We should have won this game. They started scoring every time in the second half and we didn't shut them down," Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni said.
The Thunder, meanwhile, were one of the NBA's worst teams last season but are now a solid playoff contender, occupying the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
Most recently Oklahoma City bounced back from a home loss to New Orleans by besting the Indiana Pacers, 108-102, on Saturday. Rising star Kevin Durant matched a season-high with 40 points and was key down the stretch in helping the Thunder take the victory.
Durant shot 12-of-18 overall and scored six consecutive points with under three minutes left, turning a two-point edge into an eight-point cushion and essentially sealing the victory.
"He's a big-time player. We tried to get him the shots at the end," Thunder forward Jeff Green said of Durant. "He's the reason we got over the hump."
Russell Westbrook ended with 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists for Oklahoma City, which improved to 1-1 on a four-game homestand.
The Thunder, who are 10-8 as the host on the year, will finish their residency with games against San Antonio and Dallas.
These two teams split the home-and-home series a year ago with each team holding serve on its home floor.
01/11 10:49:51 ET