NBA Basketball

127
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Oklahoma City 34 33 36 24 127
New York 16 31 35 27 109
109
9:30 AM PT10:30 AM MT11:30 AM CT12:30 PM ET17:30 GMT1:30 10:30 AM MST12:30 PM EST21:30 UAE18:3012:30 ET11:30 AM CTNaN:� , January 21, 2019
Madison Square Garden, New York, New York  Attendance: 19,493

Knicks resume MLK Day tradition by hosting Thunder

According to STATS
According to STATS

Oklahoma City Thunder at New York Knicks

  1. The Thunder are 2-5 over their last seven games, but the team won its most recent game, 117-115, against the 76ers on Saturday. In that win, Oklahoma City recorded 28 points off turnovers while allowing Philadelphia to score just eight points off turnovers.
  2. Oklahoma City has allowed 122.8 points per game in January -- only Cleveland (123.4) has a worse scoring defense than the Thunder this month. Prior to January, opponents averaged just 105.6 points against Oklahoma City, which was the fourth-lowest mark in the NBA.
  3. Paul George reached both 150 three-pointers made and 100 steals last game in his 44th game of the season. It's the fewest games needed by any player all-time to reach both marks in a single season.
  4. Both Russell Westbrook (10.6) and Steven Adams (10.1) are averaging double-digit rebounds this season. The last time that the Thunder/SuperSonics franchise had a pair of qualified teammates averaging double-digit rebounds was in 1972-73 when Spencer Haywood (12.9) and Jim Fox (11.2) did so.
  5. The Knicks are 2-18 (.100) over their last 20 games, the team's worst 20-game stretch within a single season since going 1-19 (.050) from December 7, 2014 to January 15, 2015.
  6. After averaging 8.6 points last season, Emmanuel Mudiay has increased his scoring average to 14.8 this season. His 6.2-point season-over-season improvement in scoring average is the fifth-largest of any player (min. 70% of team games both seasons).

The New York Knicks suffered a familiar result in unusually agonizing fashion and in a different locale Thursday. Perhaps a return home to a nearly annual tradition will help the Knicks snap out of their slump Monday afternoon, when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Knicks have been off since Thursday, when Allonzo Trier was whistled for goaltending with four-tenths of a second left to give the Washington Wizards the winning basket in a 101-100 decision in London. The Thunder last played Saturday, when Paul George converted the game-winning four-point play with five seconds left in a 117-115 victory over the host Philadelphia 76ers.

The loss to the Wizards was the fifth straight, the 13th in 14 tries and the 18th in 20 games for the Knicks, who are in a race with the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns for the worst record in the NBA and the best chance to win the lottery and the opportunity to select Duke freshman Zion Williamson in the June draft.

Of course, the Knicks can't say that, and so head coach David Fizdale continued to toe the company line following Thursday's defeat.

"As much as we try to win games, and winning is a priority every night, we still have to keep in mind our player development," Fizdale said. "And we're still getting all our young talent out there to get reps."

The focus is much more urgent and short-term for the Thunder, which leads a gaggle of eight teams vying for the final six playoff spots in the Western Conference. Oklahoma City will enter Monday third in the West but just 3 1/2 games ahead of the 10th-place Sacramento Kings.

As a result, Thunder players and coaches were aware the win Saturday - just the team's second in the last seven games - could have ramifications months down the road, especially given how Oklahoma City earned the victory. The 76ers took the lead with six seconds left on a layup by Jimmy Butler and had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, when Butler missed a contested 3-pointer.

"We found a way to regroup after Butler scored (in) transition on that layup and found a way to make a play and get up by two," Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said afterward. "I thought a big play in the game, personally, was when Butler came off, we didn't jump, because he shot fake twice and you get vulnerable fouling him and he's behind the three-point line. So I think for us it was good we didn't foul him, we made him shoot the ball."

The Knicks will resume a tradition when they take the court on Martin Luther King Jr. Day afternoon. Last year marked the first time since 1987 they didn't host a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee. New York was on the road because Madison Square Garden was being prepared for the Grammy Awards.

The Knicks are 19-12 all-time at home on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

--Field Level Media

Updated January 20, 2019

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