1:00 PM ET, February 9, 2014
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The showdown between the NBA's top two scorers turned out to be a mismatch.
Durant, the league's leading scorer, also had 10 rebounds and nine assists. Anthony, the league's No. 2 scorer, had 15 points on 5-for-19 shooting for the Knicks.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks took Durant out of the game with 1:24 remaining, leaving Durant short of a rare 40-point triple-double by a single assist.
"I got on Serge (Ibaka)," Durant said, laughing. "He missed a dunk and he passed up a shot."
Durant also was largely responsible for guarding Anthony.
"He missed some shots that he normally makes," Durant said. "I just tried to play as strong as I can, contest some shots and not get discouraged when he hits them because he makes tough shots and he's a guy that can get hot. I just try to rely on my teammates, and they did a great job of helping me out, building a wall behind me, and I just tried to play as hard as I can."
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Reggie Jackson had 19 points and six assists and Ibaka had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Thunder, who were coming off a 103-102 loss to struggling Orlando on Friday night.
The Thunder made 12 3-pointers and shot 55 percent overall.
Oklahoma City led 58-53 at halftime as Durant outscored Anthony 19-7.
Durant Doing It All
Kevin Durant thoroughly outplayed his Knicks counterpart, Carmelo Anthony, in Sunday's win. Durant also eclipsed 30 points for an NBA-best 31st time this season.
Durant vs. Anthony
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The Thunder asserted themselves in the third quarter. Jackson drained a 3-pointer to put the Thunder up 76-64 midway through the period. Durant's 3-pointer gave the Thunder an 81-69 edge, and the Knicks called a timeout.
New York cut Oklahoma City's lead to 86-80 early in the fourth quarter on a dunk by Jeremy Tyler, but Oklahoma City pulled away. A 3-pointer by Durant pushed Oklahoma City's lead to 95-86.
"You can double him but he's a willing passer now and he's finding people all over the place. He was good tonight, real good," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said.
Oklahoma City led 97-88 with 5:34 remaining when Ibaka was issued a technical foul. Anthony made the free throw, but the Knicks didn't get anything out of the possession. The Thunder took control from there as a long jumper by Ibaka put Oklahoma City ahead 105-90.
Durant scored his 40th point on a free throw with 1:41 remaining.
Knicks guard Metta World Peace, who as Ron Artest attacked a fan in the stands in 2004 while playing for Indiana, said Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart can learn from his incident with a fan on Saturday night. Smart shoved Texas Tech superfan Jeff Orr late in the game. "I think that emotion and that fire could be directed towards winning on the court instead of directed other ways," World Peace said. ... The Thunder shot 60 percent in the first half. ... Anthony played the late minutes of the game with five fouls.
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - FEBRUARY 9: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots against the New York Knicks ...(Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: Kevin Durant may not like the "Slim Reaper" nickname, but it's remarkably apt. The grace and ease with which he sliced up the Knicks felt as inevitable and unstoppable as the hooded skeleton wielding a scythe. He came one assist shy of a triple double, but 41 points on 22 shots plus 10 rebounds, nine assists, a steal and two blocks is still pretty darn good.
X factor: Oklahoma City's strategy to contain Carmelo Anthony. To a man, they had the discipline to stay on the floor when he pump faked, and Scott Brooks dispatched multiple defenders from multiple angles to keep him from getting to the rim, forcing Melo into chucking a slew of bad, contested shots.
LVP: New York's defense. Whether it was their inability to contain ballhandlers on the perimeter, negotiate even a basic pick, help at the rim or rotate faster than a cotton gin when the ball was kicked to the three point line, the Knicks left Hubie Brown shaking his head in disapproval all afternoon.
Next 5 Games
Kevin Durant was only 1 of 5 from mid-range Sunday (2-pt FG outside the paint), but he went 7 of 10 inside the paint and 4 of 7 from three point range en route to 41 points.[+]
Kevin Durant FG Pct by Shot Location Sunday
The Knicks have had the worst pick and roll defense this season, allowing the most points per play on possessions featuring a pick and roll. Kevin Durant was able to take advantage Sunday, shooting 8 of 13 from the floor. When the Thunder didn't run a pick and roll, the Knicks had a hard time not fouling Durant.[+]
Kevin Durant by Thunder Play Usage Sunday
Carmelo Anthony is 11-1 all-time in head-to-head games against Kevin Durant. In those 12 games, Carmelo has averaged 30.2 points on 50.4 percent shooting and 6.9 rebounds compared to Durant's averages of 26.8 points, 42.2 percent shooting and 6.5 boards. Anthony's lone loss came all the way back on April 6, 2008 (Seattle defeated Denver, 151-147, in 2OT).[+]
The Thunder shot 14-of-16 (87.5 percent) inside the paint in the first half against the Knicks Sunday. That's the Thunder's best field goal percentage in a half inside the paint this season. Both Thunder misses were by Kevin Durant (6-of-8).
ESPN Stats & Information