The Kevin Durant-Carmelo Anthony duel was postponed, though J. R. Smith filled in nicely — for three quarters. The Oklahoma City Thunder...
NEW YORK — The Kevin Durant-Carmelo Anthony duel was postponed, though J.R. Smith filled in nicely — for three quarters.
The Oklahoma City Thunder finally silenced the Knicks’ streaky shooter in the fourth, hanging on to beat New York 95-94 on Thursday night when Smith missed a turnaround jumper just before the buzzer.
“We’ve been hurt on those game-winners a couple of times this year and we didn’t want that to happen again,” Durant said. “So we just had to lock in and get a stop.”
Durant scored 34 points, including two free throws with 1:38 left that put Oklahoma City in front for good. He also had eight rebounds and six assists.
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Russell Westbrook struggled over the final three quarters but finished with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists, plus provided tough defense on Smith’s last shot in the Thunder’s first trip to New York since Dec. 22, 2010.
Kevin Martin had 16 points as Oklahoma City posted its third straight win, fighting off a spirited effort by a Knicks team missing Anthony. The All-Star forward missed his second straight game with what the Knicks said is a stiff and sore right knee.
“It was a great fight. I mean we put up a heck of a fight out there tonight,” Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire said. “We played great defensively, offensively we were playing well, the ball was moving, so we can be happy with the way we played but still a little upset that we lost down the stretch.”
Smith scored a season-high 36 points but was just 2 of 9 from the field in the final period, 1 of 5 on three-pointers. He said afterward he probably should’ve tried to drive on the last possession.
“My jumper was pretty much good all night except for the fourth quarter and just didn’t go in,” Smith said.
Neither team led by more than two points over the final 10 ½ minutes. Durant scored 12 in the final period.
Smith missed a three-pointer with 33 seconds left but the Knicks had a final chance after Durant was off on a jumper with about nine seconds to go. Smith got the ball in about the same spot where he hit a winning jumper against Phoenix earlier this season, but his shot was long as the Knicks had their two game-winning streak snapped.
Anthony was hurt Monday in Cleveland, falling to the court without contact as he tried to catch a pass. Coach Mike Woodson said Anthony is day to day.
• Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said he will consider shutting down All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, who recently missed three games with a hyperextended right knee and said after Wednesday’s comeback win over Utah that the injury was still bothering him.
• The host Denver Nuggets routed the surging Los Angeles Clippers 107-92, riding 21 points from Ty Lawson and 20 from Danilo Gallinari to their 12th straight home win. Seven Nuggets scored in double figures as Denver won its seventh straight overall and improved to 27-3 at home, tied with the Miami Heat for best in the NBA.
• The Charlotte Bobcats said guard Ramon Sessions will miss two to four weeks with a sprained ligament in his left knee.
• Phoenix Suns center Marcin Gortat probably is out for the rest of the season after spraining his foot during a loss to Toronto.
• Former NBA star and Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan and his fiancée appeared at the main Palm Beach County courthouse in Florida to apply for a marriage license. Jordan got engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Cuban-American model Yvette Prieto, in December 2011.