Posted March 07, 2013 on
AP on Fox
New York Knicks
Oklahoma City Thunder
Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Clippers
The Oklahoma City Thunder knew their defensive intensity had to improve following their worst stretch of the season.
Has it ever.
The Thunder and Knicks each go for a sixth victory in seven games on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, where New York could again be without Carmelo Anthony in this matchup of division leaders.
Coach Scott Brooks knew his team had to "regroup and figure out it out defensively" after giving up 113.7 points per game during an three-game skid from Feb. 12-20, and the Northwest-leading Thunder (44-16) have not disappointed. They've held their last six opponents to an average of 95.2 points on 40.8 percent shooting.
"I think the defense was the key," said Brooks, whose team limited the Los Angeles Lakers to 16 fourth-quarter points and 40.3 shooting overall in Tuesday's 122-105 victory. "We do that, we're going to get opportunities on the break, which we've been pretty efficient scoring and converting our opportunities."
The Thunder, second in the Western Conference, rank among the NBA leaders with 17.1 fast-break points per game, which comes as no surprise considering Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are finishing many of those.
Westbrook and Durant, though, are also committing more turnovers per game (6.7) than any NBA duo. Taking care of the ball hasn't been the Thunder's forte - they're committing 15.5 turnovers per game - but they equaled a league mark for fewest (two) giveaways in a game on Tuesday.
"I think we've done a great job of just learning and trying to get better at it each and every game," said Westbrook, who's scoring a team-best 32.2 points per game with 5.8 assists and 5.5 rebounds during this 5-1 stretch. "Not really focusing on it but just making the right decisions."
The Knicks (37-21) have done a great job taking care of the ball - averaging a league-low 12.1 turnovers - but that wasn't the case in Wednesday's 87-77 victory at Detroit when they committed 11 of their season-high 21 in the opening 12 minutes.
"Sometimes you can try to over-attack,'' said Raymond Felton, who finished with 26 points and a season high-tying seven turnovers. "Sometimes you've got to take what the defense gives you no matter who's playing.''
New York, now second in the East after pulling a half-game ahead of Indiana on Wednesday, improved to 4-4 this season without Anthony, who left Monday's 102-97 win at Cleveland with a right knee injury.
"That is the sign of a true team, a team that is willing to step up and make plays and win regardless of who is in uniform," coach Mike Woodson said.
It's uncertain if Anthony, the league's second-leading scorer with 28.2 points per game - Durant is averaging 28.6 - will miss a second straight game on Thursday.
Even if he does, Thunder big men Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins could have their hands full with Amare Stoudemire, who has matched a season-high point total (22) in each of the last two games.
Stoudemire is shooting 72.9 percent (43 for 59) from the field and averaging 17.3 points over the last six.
The Knicks, 9-3 at home against the West, have lost eight of 10 in this series, but they won 112-98 in the Thunder's last trip to MSG on Dec. 22, 2010.
Oklahoma City has won just four of its last 11 as the visitor, yet two of those wins have been against the Pacific-leading Los Angeles Clippers - including a 108-104 victory on Sunday.
BEST OF MAXIM
According to rumors, things were rocky between Knicks Carmelo Anthony and his wife Lala. The reality TV starlet even somewhat confirmed it in a recent interview saying that ten years is a long time to be together so ups and downs are to be expected. But now, the couple is back on track and moving into new New York digs.
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The knee injury that forced Carmelo Anthony from the game the other night held him out of last night's game as well. Anthony fell hard to the court after tripping over his own feet on Sunday, but he had been battling a knee issue for a few games. It turns out, he has fluid on the knee.According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, Anthony was unable to play last night because...
Carmelo is officially out
— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) March 6, 2013
Sounds as if Carmelo will play tomorrow vs Kevin Durant and OKC
— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) March 6, 2013
Peter A – Knickswag
The post Carmelo Anthony Out vs. Pistons appeared first on Knickswag - A New York Knicks Blog - News, Rumors, and more!.
Carmelo Anthony went down against the Cleveland Cavaliers with an injury to his right knee that he says has origins that date back to before the game. Melo told ESPN that he knew today would not be a good da. “Today I just woke up and you know how some days you really don’t feel right,” [...]
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Carmelo Anthony‘s knee injury is being treated carefully but optimistically ever since the Knicks forward left Monday’s game after stumbling to the floor in the second quarter. For now, the team is holding out hope that Anthony simply tweaked his right knee during the win over the Cavaliers. Their best-case scenario is that he will be back on the court soon.
If he is not, the...
New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony is listed as questionable for Wednesday's game against the Detroit Pistons after suffering an injury to his right knee during Monday's win against Cleveland Cavaliers.The incident occurred in the first half midway through the second quarter when Anthony stumbled, fell to the ground, left the game and failed to return. Anthony claims...
The Knicks are reluctant to reveal the source of Carmelo Anthony's discomfort in his right knee.
Carmelo Anthony took a frightening tumble on Monday night during the New York Knicks’ loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. After the Knicks grabbed a rebound in the second quarter, Anthony looked to receive an outlet pass and appeared to trip over his own feet. He then grabbed toward his knee in pain.
According to head coach Mike Woodson, the tumble could have been avoided if he had...
It’s not secret that the Knicks are secretive about injuries to their players, Amar’e Stoudemire and Rasheed Wallace are prime examples. No real cause for concern, but Mike Woodson saying Carmelo Anthony will ‘eventually’ be back from a sore knee isn’t the most encouraging news.
According to the NY Post:
Dr. Lisa Callahan, the Knicks’ medical director, and Anthony’s...
Mike Woodson was "stubborn" & did not listen
The New York Knicks may be without Carmelo Anthony on Wednesday night. If their reserves can repeat their latest performance and Amare Stoudemire can continue his efficient scoring, it may not matter against the hapless Detroit Pistons.
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