Any attempts to doubt the legitimacy of the New York Knicks recent winning streak sound nothing short of idiotic by this point. The Knicks went into Oklahoma City in an enormous game for both teams in what was a potential NBA Finals preview and pulled out their 12th straight victory, 125-120. They have now hit 50 wins for the first time since 1999, basically wrapped up the Atlantic Division title and moved 2.5 games ahead of the Indiana Pacers in the race for the #2 seed. There is nobody in the NBA playing better basketball right now.
Carmelo Anthony didn’t slow down from his recent torrid scoring streak, as he poured in 36 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, despite receiving no free throw attempts until the final minute. He was a consistent presence around the basket, cleaning up on the offensive boards and putting back multiple missed shot attempts. He has now pulled in front of Kevin Durant (27 points) in the race for the NBA scoring title.
Anthony was supported by another big game from JR Smith who capped off a 22 point performance with a dagger three-pointer from well behind the line with a little under a minute to go. Jason Kidd chipped in 14 points with 4 threes and Chris Copeland had a big first half and finished with 13 points. Raymond Felton also had an excellent all-around game with 16 points and 8 assists.
The Knicks are peaking at the right time and without question appear to be the most viable threat to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference. When they are led by Carmelo Anthony playing like this, receiving the all around support from the rest of the roster and moving it around this well on offense it makes you think they might just be able to give the Heat more of a series than anybody expects.
Knicks Game MVP – Carmelo Anthony. He played an aggressive, physical game despite receiving no help from the officials and gutted out 36 points with 12 rebounds. Over the past four games Anthony has 167 points and is now the leading the scorer in the NBA with only 6 games left on the Knicks schedule.
Knicks Game LVP – Pablo Prigioni had a quiet game with an uncharacteristic back to back turnovers in the third quarter that helped bring the Thunder back into the game. However, he is now 12-0 as a starter.
Turning Point – A Russell Westbrook jump shot cut the Knicks lead to 115-113 with 1:54 to go but JR Smith responded with a jumper, a defensive rebound and then finally a dagger three pointer that essentially ended the game.
Play of the Night – With a little over a minute left Raymond Felton went tumbling into the lane, lost his footing and the ball but somehow found a way to recover it and roll it out to JR Smith who buried a three from WAY downtown to give the Knicks a 7 point lead.
What’s Next – The Knicks host the red-hot Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden this upcoming Tuesday at 7:30 PM.