Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

April 8, 2013

Knicks drop Thunder for 12th-straight win

OKLAHOMA CITY — Driving to the basket in crunch time, Raymond Felton slipped to the floor and lost the basketball in the process. All he could do was lunge back at it and bat it toward J.R. Smith as the shot clock ticked closer to zero.

For the second straight possession, Smith beat the buzzer - this time with a 3-pointer - and the Knicks closed out a 125-120 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday.

"He makes plays like that. He makes tough shots. Sometimes I think he likes to take the tougher shot than the easier shot. They still go in,'' said teammate Carmelo Anthony, who had 36 points and 12 rebounds while moving ahead of Kevin Durant to become the NBA's top scorer.

"That shot, it was a nail in the coffin.''

Smith finished with 22 points, including the two biggest shots of the game. He connected on a 23-foot jumper from the right wing as the 24-second clock expired to put New York up 117-113 with 1:30 to play, then swished a 3-pointer with 56.8 seconds left that all but sealed New York's 50th win of the season.

"It was just a freak accident, a great play,'' Felton said. "I slipped, knocked the ball to him and he did the rest. He knocked down the big shot.''

The victory was the Knicks' 12th in a row and put them at 50 wins for the first time in 13 years. They also moved 2 1/2 games ahead of Indiana for second place in the Eastern Conference and moved onto the doorstep of clinching the Atlantic Division title.

Russell Westbrook had 37 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for Oklahoma City, which fell a game behind San Antonio for first place in the West with five games left.

The Thunder had gained control of the race for first by beating the Spurs but were unable to complete a three-game sweep of San Antonio, Indiana and New York in a less than 72-hour span.

"We're good. We've got five more games to go,'' said Durant, who scored 27. "We lost a tough one. This team, they shot the ball well tonight. They hit some tough shots all night. We forced them to shoot some tough ones and they hit them.

"You've got to tip your hat to them, but other than that, what's the need to panic for? We're good.''

Anthony's scoring average improved one-tenth of a point to 28.44, while Durant's stayed about the same at 28.35.

"I try not to think about that,'' Anthony said. "I just go out there and play ball.''

Anthony, playing at Oklahoma City for the first time since April 2010, added to one of the more colorful histories of any visiting player despite failing to extend his run of 40-point games to four. He tied Bernard King's Knicks record with three in a row, going for 50, 40 and 41 in his previous three games.

Anthony hit game-winners in the closing seconds of Denver's only two games at Oklahoma City in 2009, then was knocked unconscious in the third quarter before returning in the fourth as the Nuggets rallied to win the 2010 game.

He had missed his final chance with the Nuggets after his sister's death and then sat out last season's meeting because of wrist and ankle injuries.

This time, he came up with a season-high nine offensive rebounds as the Knicks amassed 23 points off of 19 offensive boards. Anthony's last three baskets came on tip-ins. He twice put back his own misses, then tipped in Smith's missed free throw in the final minute to help close it out.

"This is probably one of the biggest wins we've had in a long time,'' Anthony said. "Just for the simple fact that it's on the road, it's against a great Thunder team. We've been playing well. For us to come out here and keep our composure and win on the road and win here - this is a tough place to win.''

It was just the sixth home loss for the Thunder, who snapped a string of 21 straight games at Chesapeake Energy Arena that had been decided by double digits - 18 wins, three losses.

New York had a season high in scoring and the most points of any Thunder opponent this season, getting 16 from Felton, 15 from Tyson Chandler 14 from Jason Kidd and 13 from Chris Copeland.

"They're hot,'' Durant said. "Carmelo was hitting shots over Serge (Ibaka) with a hand in his face, he was meeting him at the rim. He was missing, but he was getting those tips, and they were hitting 3s. ... We were down two and J.R. Smith hit two tough jump shots in a row. I think our defense was good, as far as putting a hand up.''

Oklahoma City trailed by 12 early in the second half and 98-89 after Chandler's two-handed slam to start the fourth quarter before rallying back. Durant's jumper in the lane with 6:57 remaining put the Thunder up 105-104, but he did not score again.

Anthony's relentlessness on the boards paid off. He twice stretched one-point leads with tip-ins of his own misses before Smith finally provided a bigger cushion. On one of the offensive rebounds, Anthony chipped one of Chandler's teeth.

He attributed his strong play to being healthy again, after missing time this season with finger, ankle and knee injuries, and being motivated by the approaching playoffs.

"It's the end of the season, the last month. Everybody's fighting for spots. The playoffs are right around the corner,'' Anthony said. "This is the best basketball.''

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0237web.jpg Hrdlicka, Teter pour ‘heart’ into Zebra soccer program

    For the past four years, Claremore High School seniors Katelin Teter and Nick Hrdlicka have represented the ‘heart and soul’ of the Lady Zebra and Zebra soccer programs.
    The soccer duo will join seven other seniors on Friday night for Homecoming against Collinsville at Lantow Field.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • DSC_0014web.jpg 9 straight for Lady Zebras

    Claremore sophomore forward Bailey Steckline got the ‘hat-trick’ plus one Tuesday night in the Lady Zebras’ 10-0 win over Tulsa Memorial at  LaFortune Stadium.
    Steckline tallied two goals in the first half, and added two more in the second to complete her impressive night.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0156web.jpg Tulsa Memorial holds off Zebras, 2-1

    Tulsa Memorial scored a pair of first-half goals  to steal the momentum away from the Claremore Zebras, as well as the 2-1 win Tuesday night in Metro Lakes Conference action at LaFortune Stadium.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0015web.jpg BASEBALL: Whatley, Howe power Zebras past Tahlequah

    Claremore’s Matt Whatley has proven over the past four years that he’s one of the toughest outs in the Metro Lakes Conference.
    On Tuesday, Whatley went 3-for-4 with two singles and a triple while sparking the Zebras to a 12-2 win over Tahlequah in five innings at American Legion Park.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • BASEBALL: Dewey takes pair from Sequoyah

    It’s very difficult to win when you can’t score.
    Class 4A third-ranked Dewey blanked homestanding Sequoyah 7-0 and 2-0 in a district doubleheader on Tuesday, improving to 21-3 with a dominating two-hit pitching performance in the opener and a four-hitter in the nightcap.

    April 18, 2014

  • SOCCER: Sequoyah topples No. 15 Catoosa, 1-0

    Sequoyah boys soccer coach Bob Campbell had one phrase to sum up his feelings following the Eagles’ game with 15th ranked Catoosa at home Tuesday night.
    “We’re in the driver’s seat.’’
    Alex Bourgeois scored late in the first half and Sequoyah made it stand up for a 1-0 victory over the Indians in a showdown for the district lead.

    April 18, 2014

  • Jackson sprints Zebras to 1st place at OBU Relays

    Claremore senior sprinter Tyler Jackson felt the need for speed Wednesday afternoon at the Oklahoma Baptist University High School Invitational.
    Jackson notched a pair of first-place victories in the 200-meter dash and the 400-meter dash to help Claremore earn 130 points for top honors.

    April 18, 2014

  • BASEBALL: Arkansas Tech roughs up ‘Cats

    The Rogers State University baseball team had a disappointing finish in its home finale as No. 12-ranked Arkansas Tech blanked the Hillcats 11-0 Tuesday evening in non-conference action from the Diamond Sports Complex.

    April 18, 2014

  • BASEBALL: Houston Baptist clips ORU, 11-10

    Jose Trevino launched his second home run of the series on Saturday afternoon to send the game into extra innings, but Houston Baptist plated two runs in the 10th to avoid a three-game sweep with an 11-10 win at J.L. Johnson Stadium.

    April 20, 2014

  • SOFTBALL: Henshaw's 11th-inning HR lifts Tulsa past UTSA, 2-1

    Senior Haley Henshaw's home run in the top of the 11th inning gave No. 16 Tulsa a 2-1 win at UTSA and complete the series sweep Saturday afternoon at Roadrunner Field.

    April 20, 2014