Preview 29 of 82: Thunder @ Knicks
Time: 6:30 PM CT
TV: NBA TV / Fox Sports Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS (98.1 FM OKC / 97.1 FM Tulsa)
The Oklahoma City Thunder enters New York City on the second night of a back-to-back — and even that doesn’t tell the story of how fatigued the team might actually be. Fresh off a triple-overtime win last night in Philadelphia, and with Steven Adams out with a concussion, Carmelo Anthony makes his triumphant return to Madison Square Garden under less-than-ideal circumstances.
The Thunder carries a 14-14 record into the game and has a chance to move above .500 for the first time since October 31. How the team responds to little rest and an emotional atmosphere will be paramount in leaving NYC with a victory.
- Steven Adams: Out — Concussion
- Kristaps Porzingis: Questionable — Knee
- Tim Hardaway Jr: Out — Leg
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October 19: OKC 105, NYK 84 [BOX SCORE]
Melo Goes Home. Carmelo Anthony played seven and a half seasons in New York City, averaging 24.8 PPG and winning a scoring title in a Knicks uniform. He was traded to OKC over the offseason in exchange for Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott but still speaks glowingly of NYC. Speaking with ESPN’s Royce Young, Melo said, “Being back in there, being on the other side, running out the other side of the tunnel, seeing people that I became close with, seeing my family that I can’t really much right now because I’m in Oklahoma City — my son, my wife — seeing them, having them be there, is very important. So I think it’ll be a fun game, a fun night. Emotional as far as excited being back on that court.”
No Steven. Steven Adams is in the NBA’s concussion protocol and will be sidelined tonight in NYC. The big man is averaging 17.3 PPG and 10.3 RPG in December so his presence will be missed. Dakari Johnson filled in admirably when Adams sat earlier in the season and is the odds-on favorite to draw the start.
Porzingis is Questionable. Kristaps Porzingis is listed as questionable for tonight’s game and is dealing with a sore left knee. The 22-year-old Latvian is averaging 25.5 PPG for the Knicks this season and his absence would cripple the New York offense. He scored 31 points against the Thunder on opening night.
Slowing Enes Kanter. Steven Adams terrorized Enes Kanter on opening night, holding his former Stache Bro to 10 points and 7 rebounds on 5/10 shooting. With Adams out tonight in NYC, Kanter figures to have a much easier evening and has no trouble getting buckets. Dakari Johnson and company will have their hands full with Big Turkey.
Fatigue. Heavy, heavy minutes were logged last night in Philly. Westbrook (52), Melo (47), and Paul George (45) could all be feeling the effects of the marathon. Andre Roberson played 34 minutes but entered on a minutes restriction stemming from his recent ankle injury. All four of these starters could potentially be dealing with a reduced workload — something to watch.