by Peter Walsh

Thunder 95 (45-16), Knicks 94 (37-22)

With Carmelo Anthony sidelined due to a nagging knee injury, the Knicks took the Thunder to the brink, but the Kevin Durant-led Thunder held on for the win. J.R. Smith led New York with 36 points and kept his team in the game by hitting six 3-pointers but had a tough fourth quarter. KD, on the other hand, elevated his play over the final 12 minutes to carry his team to the finish. Smith hit a 3-pointer to give the Knicks a 90 -89 lead with under four minutes to go but Durant came right back and hit a tough step-back jumper over Jason Kidd to give OKC the lead right back. Durant scored 12 of his 34 in the fourth quarter as New York had no answer for him after Kenyon Martin fouled out. OKC led 95-94 when the Knicks got a defensive stop to give themselves a chance to win with time winding down. After a timeout, Smith caught the rock with time winding down and was forced into a tough turnaround jumper–thanks to solid D from Russell Westbrook–that drew iron as the buzzer sounded. Westbrok finished with 21 points, 6 boards and 5 dimes and Kevin Martin scored 16 off the bench. STAT and Raymond Felton each scored 16 for New York.

 

Nuggets 107 (41-22), Clippers 92 (44-20)

The Nuggets are playing their best basketball and peaking at the right time and took it to a Clippers team playing the second game of a back-to-back last night. Denver will most likely by the “it” team next month when writers / pundits / bloggers, etc… are making their Playoff picks but their poor road record is worrisome. Ty Lawson led the way with 21 points, 11 dimes and 0 turnovers and gave Chris Paul headaches all night. Danilo Gallinari chipped in with 20 and Kenneth Faried scored 1, grabbed 10 boards and blocked 4 shots in the win. CP3 finished with 16 and 10 dimes and Blake Griffin scored 17 in the loss.