This game started out looking eerily similar to the Wizards game on Monday with the Knicks coming out hot early on a 13-2 run. Carmelo Anthony was on fire as he started the game off 7-7 from the field. Anthony was making some difficult, contested shots with Roberson draped all over him. Dre was pushing him off his spots, but it didn’t matter because Anthony was feelin’ it. He got some offensive help from Courtney Lee who was also shooting well to start the game.
The trend was similar to the Wizards’ game on the other end of the floor as well. The Thunder started out 1-10 from the field and continued that poor shooting throughout the quarter. Russell Westbrook was the only Thunder player providing any offense as Sabonis started out 0-4 and Adams 0-5 from the floor. When Joffrey Lauvergne checked into the game off the bench he was able to provide the Thunder a little spark, similar to how he played Monday night, scoring 7 points in the first and providing Russ’ only real help on the offensive end.
Things were not looking good for the Thunder as they trailed 39-27 at the end of 1. But, in the second quarter they were finally able to get out of their (pretty much season-long) 3-point shooting slump. After poor shooting in the first quarter, they finished 7-12 from distance at the half. The Thunder’s 7 makes from 3 in the first half is just under their per game average of 7.6 over the past nine games. The offensive charge was led by Russell Westbrook who finished with 19p-10a-4r (6 of 7 shooting) in the first half along with Victor Oladipo who was uber aggressive on his way to 14 points at the midway point.
Russ, who had 0 rebounds in the first quarter, snagged 4 boards in the second quarter which seemed to all lead to fastbreak opportunities for the Thunder. In addition to the 3-point shooting mentioned above, the Thunder’s increased tempo, allowed them to get back into this game. On the defensive end, Andre Roberson’s stout defense was finally starting to cool down the red hot Carmelo Anthony as he did not shoot nearly as well in the 2nd quarter.
The half was capped off with Andre Roberson’s first made 3-pointer in 6 games, and after that you kind of had the feeling it was the Thunder’s night. The Thunder led at the break 62-60 after being down by as much as 17.
The Thunder opened up the second half right where they left off coming out hot. The Knicks didn’t miss a beat from the way that they ended the first half either, playing sloppy and taking some questionable shots.
Derrick Rose, who had a great game in the first matchup with OKC, was able to get into the lane at will in the 3rd and displayed great body control on his finishes at the rim. For the Thunder, Russell Westbrook was still dominating on the offensive end. He had some help from Jerami Grant who finished with 13 points and 5 rebounds and Oladipo who added in 7 more in the second half to finish with 21.
The Thunder extended their lead to 8 heading into the fourth and didn’t let it get much closer than that for the rest of the game. Carmelo Anthony reverted back to his first quarter self, making some incredible shots that were once again contested by Dre. He finished with 30 points on 11 of 20 shooting including 6 of 7 from 3. But even with Anthony’s great shooting, Rose’s 25 points and 16 more from Courtney Lee, the Knicks still didn’t have enough firepower to hold off the unstoppable Russell Westbrook. Russ notched his 27th triple-double of the season tonight finishing with 38 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists on 13 of 22 shooting including 3 of 5 from distance. That stat line is simply incredible and that guy is just an absolute joy to watch play basketball.
Along with Russ, Grant, and Dipo, Steven Adams, who looked a little off in the first half, ended up with 11 points and 8 rebounds and Andre Roberson finished with 10 points (7 rebounds) as he was cutting well and was able to get to the free throw line a couple of times.
The Thunder finally put together a good shooting night from the field finishing at 46.6%, and a great shooting night from 3 at 52.2%, and were able to fight back from the Knicks early offensive onslaught and win this one at home before the All-Star break 116 – 105.
- It was announced before the game that Carmelo Anthony would replace the injured Kevin Love in the All-Star game this weekend. He certainly looked like he was deserving of that honor tonight as he was hitting some unbelievable shots. He had 19 points on 7/8 shooting… in the first quarter.
- Also before the game, Russ received his All-Star jersey on the court in front of the Thunder crowd.
- The Thunder looked like they were ready for the 9-day All-Star break in the first quarter. This game had all the makings of a blow-out similar the one on Monday against the Wizards. However, the guys were able to come out with much more energy and aggressiveness in the 2nd and keep it up through the rest of the game.
- It was ESPN’s Crossover Wednesday as they had NFL Insider Adam Schefter as the sideline reporter and college basketball analyst Dan Dakich alongside Jeff Van Gundy on the color commentary.
- Schefter was fine, but Dakich was pretty obnoxious on the call. I saw several people point it out on twitter but he was basically just interviewing Van Gundy the entire game. He asked about a million questions and was getting way off topic from what was a pretty competitive game.
- Another tough night for Cameron Payne as he went 0-6 from the field in 12 minutes. He didn’t look great on defense either, and it stood out to me tonight that his help defense is particularly poor as he seems to be either late or lazy coming to his teammates aid.
- He was able to get the offense going a little bit in his time on the court, picking up 3 assists and making a few nice passes. However, he still isn’t really a threat in the pick-and-roll. I’m sure part of that is missing Kanter, but the way he dribbles over screens still looks like he is just going through the motions and not really looking to “make a play”.
- Russ, rebound, points…
- Hernangomez has a similar style to Steven Adams on the court. He’s a physical big man who plays solid defense. He played pretty well defensively against Adams and was able to make a few things happen on the offensive end finishing with 8 points and 10 rebounds. I think this guy has huge upside and could be a solid player in the league.
- When the Thunder got hot in the second and Roberson made his lone 3, the play-by-play announcer yelled out “Even he has it going on now!”. I laughed.
- Kendrick Perkins was in the house tonight
- Jerami Grant was really aggressive tonight on offense and seemed more in control than normal on his drives to the basket.
- R.I.P, Jokic…
Next Up: Be sure to check out Domas Sabonis and Alex Abrines in the Rising Stars Challenge at 8pm CST this Friday and Russell Westbrook in the All-Star game at 7pm CST on Sunday. The Thunder have 9 days off between games as they don’t play again until Friday, February 24th at home against the Lakers at 7pm CST.