Skip to content

Thunder overcome hot shooting from J.R. Smith to outlast Knicks

Mar 8, 2013, 12:00 AM EST

New York Knicks' Smith walks off the floor after missing a shot in their NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in New York Reuters

Initially, a little of the luster was lost from the TNT matchup between the Knicks and the Thunder when it was learned that Carmelo Anthony would be forced to sit out his second straight game due to a sore right knee.

J.R. Smith took it upon himself to carry the offensive load for New York in Anthony’s absence, however, and as a result, we had ourselves a pretty entertaining ballgame.

In the end, the Thunder outlasted the Knicks to get a 95-94 victory, but it was much closer than expected thanks to Smith’s heroics.

The game gave us what we all expected in its first 12 minutes. Oklahoma City scored 35 first quarter points and led by nine after one, thanks to 15 points from Russell Westbrook, and a flailing offensive effort from New York to get things started. The Knicks opened 9-of-23 from the field, and were doubled up on the boards by their opponent.

The second quarter belonged to Smith, who scored 18 points in the period to cut the Thunder lead to just two by halftime. The shots came in typical fashion for Smith, who is one of the more capable scorers in the league when he gets rolling.

That roll continued in the third quarter, but not immediately. As Smith began the second half on the bench (as is his normal spot in the rotation), New York opened the period just 1-14 from the floor, with the lone bucket coming courtesy of Smith once he checked back in. The Thunder couldn’t gain any separation during that stretch, and as Smith hit step-back jumpers and three-pointers consistently, while Westbrook cooled considerably and missed five of six shots in the period, the Knicks took a six-point lead into the game’s final 12 minutes.

Knicks fans would have been happy to fill you in on how the final 12 minutes were about to unfold, even after Smith had just scored 31 points over the previous two periods. Smith would take, and sometimes force progressively tougher shots as he tried to keep it going, while the Thunder locked down defensively and had their superstar, Kevin Durant, score 12 of his team’s final 20 points.

The fourth was an ugly one offensively, as Smith made just two of his nine shot attempts and the Knicks managed just 13 points over the game’s final 12 minutes. The low-scoring final frame kept things close until the final buzzer, and Smith actually had two pretty good looks with the game in the balance that would have given his team the lead or the win had he gotten one of those shots to go down.

Smith finished with 36 points on 14-of-29 shooting, including making six of his 13 attempts from three-point distance. Durant didn’t play one of his more aesthetically pleasing games, but as always, he more than got the job done with 34 points, eight rebounds, and six assists, making 14 of 15 attempts from the free throw line in the process.

Ultimately, the game ended up as we expected it would — the Thunder came away with the victory, and Durant’s scoring led the way. But Smith provided more than enough excitement to keep things close, which kept us watching until his 17-foot, fading jumper in isolation over Westbrook rimmed out just before the final buzzer sounded.

Latest Posts
  1. Oklahoma City waives Sebastian Telfair

    Nov 27, 2014, 12:28 AM EST

    Utah Jazz v Oklahoma City Thunder Getty Images

    Ish Smith will stay on the roster.

  2. LeBron James, Cavaliers have kind of game they need to replicate blowing out Wizards

    Nov 27, 2014, 12:01 AM EST

    Dion Waiters, Kevin Seraphin, Rasual Butler Dion Waiters, Kevin Seraphin, Rasual Butler

    If the Cavs can defend like that on a regular basis they will be far more dangerous.

  3. Adam Silver on if league would do anything about Sixers: “Step in and do what?”

    Nov 26, 2014, 9:15 PM EST

    He also talks Milwaukee, doing away with conferences.

  4. Gregg Popovich to miss game following ‘minor medical procedure’

    Nov 26, 2014, 8:15 PM EST

    Gregg Popovich Gregg Popovich

    With Popovich out, Ettore Messina takes over Spurs

  5. James Harden throws pass through Amar’e Stoudemire’s legs (video)

    Nov 26, 2014, 7:00 PM EST

    New York Knicks v Houston Rockets Getty Images

    Harden shifts defensive-woes attention onto Knicks forward

  6. Kyrie Irving wants to take on bigger defensive role, challenge top point guards

    Nov 26, 2014, 4:59 PM EST

    John Wall, Kyrie Irving John Wall, Kyrie Irving

    You have to like that he wants to step up, but based on history, a lot of top point guards in the league just started drooling.

  7. Report: Knicks worried Carmelo Anthony’s back issue may be season-long concern

    Nov 26, 2014, 1:15 PM EST

    Carmelo Anthony Carmelo Anthony

    Anthony was in severe pain after suffering back spasms on Monday against the Rockets.

  8. Tyson Chandler faces Knicks, will remind them he’s very good when healthy, used properly

    Nov 26, 2014, 12:30 PM EST

    Tyson Chandler AP

    Chandler didn’t fit the triangle but Rick Carlisle knew how to use him properly.

  9. David West hopes to make season debut Friday for Pacers

    Nov 26, 2014, 11:45 AM EST

    Atlanta Hawks v Indiana Pacers - Game Five Getty Images

    West has been out since the preseason with an ankle injury.

  10. Report: Lakers working on a one-year deal with Earl Clark

    Nov 26, 2014, 11:05 AM EST

    Earl Clark Getty Images

    Clark had his best NBA season with L.A. back in 2013.

Featured video

Could Sixers be worst team in NBA history?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (8311)
  2. D. Wade (6790)
  3. D. Howard (6172)
  4. K. Durant (5963)
  5. P. Gasol (5768)
  1. K. Martin (5293)
  2. T. Jones (4995)
  3. T. Harris (4921)
  4. R. Westbrook (4785)
  5. O. Asik (4686)