Looking back at the New York Knicks winning streak, Sunday afternoon’s victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder has to be considered the most impressive.
It happened on the road against a very tough team in a very tough building to win, as the Thunder entered the game 33-5 on their home floor.
Despite allowing 120 points and watching Thunder point guard nearly take over the game with a 37 point effort to go with 11 rebounds and eight assists, the Knicks won an offensive slugfest 125-120.
Carmelo Anthony outdueled Kevin Durant and took ahold of the NBA’s scoring lead and more importantly led the Knicks to their 12th consecutive win and sent a message to the NBA in the process.
The Knicks were shorthanded, without Kenyon Martin and Marcus Camby, leaving Tyson Chandler as the Knicks only healthy big man. In addition, they found a way to win despite allowing OKC to shoot 57.7 percent from the floor and 52.9 percent from behind the arc.
The Knicks didn’t have a bad day from the floor themselves though, knocking down 49.5 percent of the attempts from the floor and 44.1 percent of their three-point attempts on the afternoon.
With that being said, let’s take a look at how each Knicks player graded out in one of their biggest wins of the season.
Raymond Felton (16 points, 5-of-12 shooting, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal)
Felton has been much better since getting moved off of the ball and Sunday was no exception as he was an important part in winning. His ability to get into the lane and finish among the Thunder bigs was crucial and he made a huge play late in the game when he fell in the lane and still found a way to tip the ball out to J.R. Smith who knocked down a huge three. Grade: B+
Pablo Prigioni (3 points, 1-of-2 shooting, 3 assists, 1 steal)
Prigioni struggled for a change with the defensive pressure of the Thunder, including making a pair of costly third quarter turnovers on back-to-back possessions that allowed the Thunder to get back into the game. In addition, everyone that attempted to guard Westbrook on this afternoon struggled in a big way. It wasn’t Prigioni’s best day, although he was instrumental in getting the ball moving during his 19 minutes. Grade D
Iman Shumpert (0 points, 0-of-2 shooting, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal)
Shumpert’s shot wasn’t falling early and he struggled defensively on Durant. The result was only 11 minutes played and Anthony moving out to the perimeter to guard Durant. Grade: D
Carmelo Anthony (36 points, 15-of-29 shooting, 12 rebounds, 1 block)
It wasn’t a 40-point effort from ‘Melo, but it was just as dominant. Anthony made it happen from the inside and the outside and somehow scored 31 points before making it to the free-throw line for the first time. He did a better than average job on Durant defensively and his nine offensive rebounds spoke of a man on a mission. Simply another elite performance from Anthony. Grade: A+
Tyson Chandler (15 points, 6-of-9 shooting, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks)
The Thunder scored 120 points, so Chandler’s defense wasn’t a factor, but he was active at the offensive end, scoring 15 points and grabbing three offensive rebounds. The Thunder didn’t miss much on the afternoon so his rebound total is rather low, but he was a big part in the win nonetheless. Although another technical foul could have proved costly. Grade: B-
Chris Copeland (13 points, 5-of-9 shooting, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block)
With some of the Knicks starters in foul trouble, they needed a spark from their bench and got one as the Knicks reserves scored 36 first half points and totaled 55 for the game. However they don’t win without the early spark that Copeland provided. He was able to have success getting to the rim and ultimately opened things up for the long-range shot. Copeland still has his shortcomings, but on this afternoon he was exactly the spark that the Knicks needed. Grade: A
Steve Novak (6 points, 2-of-4 shooting, 2 rebounds)
Novak didn’t contribute much, but knocked down a pair of big three’s in only 12 minutes of playing time. Grade: C+
Jason Kidd (14 points, 5-of-8 shooting, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals)
In addition to Copeland adding a spark, Kidd’s play was vital in the victory as he had a very productive day, knocking down four triples and doing all of the other things that the future Hall of Famer always does to help this team win. Grade: A
J.R. Smith (22 points, 7-of-18 shooting, 7 rebounds, 4 assists)
Smith’s shot wasn’t falling at the rate that it has been as of late, but he made up for it by getting to the free-throw line nine times. I am a little worried that he didn’t take the ball to the rim a lot as nine of his 18 attempts came from behind the arc, but he had a big fourth quarter and knocked down a huge three that swung the momentum the Knicks way for good. Grade: B+
James White: DNP (Coach’s Decision)
Kenyon Martin: DNP (Left Knee)
Marcus Camby: DNP (Left Foot)
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