Things were spiraling out of control quickly for the Thunder on Tuesday night inside of Madison Square Garden, but no one told Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook that.
Despite trailing by double-digits in the fourth quarter, OKC’s dominant duo let everyone in the “Big Apple” know exactly what they were capable of, as both Durant and Westbrook led the Thunder to a 128-122 overtime win over the Knicks.
Durant scored a season high 44 points in the win to go with his 14 rebounds and five assists while Westbrook was in triple-double territory yet again with 30 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.
Oklahoma City (34-13) trailed 99-88 with 9:30 left in the game, but the duo didn’t come close to panicking. Westbrook checked back into the contest, and in a two minute span OKC had completely changed the momentum of the game.
Westbrook’s mere presence alone drew in the attention of the New York (22-25) defense, which allowed some extra space for backup point guard Cameron Payne. The rookie has fit nicely into lineups where both he and Westbrook are featured together, and Tuesday was no exception. Payne drilled two huge 3-pointers for OKC that helped cut the Thunder deficit to five points before Durant checked back in the game with 7:28 left.
The game was tied at 104-104 within three minutes of Durant checking back in, and the New York crowd was marveling at the incredible performance they were witnessing.
New York appeared to snatch the momentum back after getting baskets from Kristaps Porzingis and Derrick Williams which put the home team up 113-109 with only 59 seconds left, but OKC wasn’t done fighting.
Ibaka grabbed an offensive rebound and got a quick put-back to put the Thunder within two points on their ensuing possession, and then the OKC defense forced Arron Afflalo into a miss on the other end of the floor to give OKC a chance to tie it up.
In moments like that, it’s always nice to have a superstar, and Durant showed why he’s a superstar on the highest level. KD was able to fight himself free from a Knicks defender and nail a game-tying jumper with 16 seconds left to make the score 113-113.
After Afflalo’s game-winning attempt at the buzzer went in-and-out, the game was headed to overtime.
Oklahoma City seized control early in OT, and the Thunder never trailed in the extra period. Westbrook nailed a 12-foot jumper with just over a minute left to put OKC up three points and give his team a big enough cushion to hold off the Knicks throughout the final seconds.
Dion Waiters started at shooting guard for the injured Andre Roberson and totaled 14 points, while Ibaka totaled 12 points and a season-high 17 rebounds. Payne finished with 12 points off the bench to lead the way for a second unit that struggled to get much going. Enes Kanter had one of his worst shooting performances of the season with a 0-for-6 showing from the field.
The Knicks were without Carmelo Anthony who was still experiencing soreness in his knee, but five New York players scored 15 points or more in the loss. Langston Galloway totaled 21 points off the bench while Afflalo scored 17 of his own. Lance Thomas—who started for Anthony—had 16 points while Porzingis tallied 15 points and five rebounds.
Oklahoma City will be back in action tomorrow night when they take on the Timberwolves in Minneapolis. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.