NEW YORK — The Kevin Durant-Carmelo Anthony duel was postponed, though J.R. Smith filled in nicely — for three quarters.
The Oklahoma City Thunder finally silenced the Knicks’ streaky shooter in the fourth, hanging on to beat New York 95-94 on Thursday night when Smith missed a turnaround jumper just before the buzzer.
“We’ve been hurt on those game-winners a couple of times this year and we didn’t want that to happen again," Durant said. “So we just had to lock in and get a stop."
Durant scored 34 points, including two free throws with 1:38 left that put Oklahoma City in front for good. He also had eight rebounds and six assists.
Russell Westbrook struggled over the final three quarters but finished with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists, plus provided tough defense on Smith’s last shot.
Kevin Martin had 16 points as Oklahoma City posted its third straight win, fighting off a spirited effort by a Knicks team missing Anthony. The All-Star forward missed his second straight game with what the Knicks said is a stiff and sore right knee.
Also on Thursday:
DENVER — Denver Nuggets the surging Los Angeles Clippers, riding 21 points from Ty Lawson and 20 from Danilo Gallinari to their 12th straight home win.