"In the fourth quarter we just tried to come out and play lockdown defense, and I think that's what we did," Durant said.
Anthony's injury prevented a matchup between the NBA's top two scorers, his 28.2 points per game slightly behind the 28.6 Durant came in averaging as he tries to lead the league for the fourth straight season.
But it was still a loud crowd for the Thunder's first game here in more than two years, since they weren't scheduled for a game at Madison Square Garden in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season.
"You missed it last year with the shortened season," said Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks, who played for the Knicks in the 1996-97 season. "It's one of those things, especially for myself because I like coming here and seeing all the excitement, and that was one of the disappointing things of looking at least season's schedule. We didn't have a stop here in New York City."
He said it would be exciting and he was right, mostly because of Smith's big night.
The reserve guard shoots often even when he's not doing it accurately, and just Sunday he threw up 14 3-point shots against Miami while making just three. But the Knicks needed him to keep shooting without Anthony, and he was locked in during the middle two quarters.
"He was making some tough shots. He's one of the guys in this league that you can guard well and he can make a tough shot. He was in a zone," Brooks said.
The Thunder scored 16 straight points, going ahead by 10 en route to a 35-26 lead behind 15 first-quarter points from Westbrook. The Knicks fought back to tie it at 48 on a basket by Kenyon Martin, on his second 10-day contract and getting his first extended playing time since signing late last month. Smith scored 18 in the second period, but the Thunder regrouped to take a 59-56 lead to the locker room.
The Knicks surged into the lead with nine straight points, highlighted by Stoudemire's dunk over Serge Ibaka, and went ahead 75-69 with 2:07 left in the third. Smith made sure they kept that margin going to the fourth, hitting two 3-pointers in the final 34 seconds to make it 81-75.
NOTES: Oklahoma City G Ronnie Brewer didn't play. Brewer was a starter for the Knicks to begin the season, but eventually lost his place in the rotation entirely after a lengthy slump and was dealt to the Thunder for a second-round pick at the trade deadline. ... The Knicks wore jerseys saying "Nueva York" as part of the NBA's Latin Nights series.