Turns out the Thunder might have gone too small for its own good in its 125-120 loss Sunday afternoon to the streaking New York Knicks, who have now won 12 straight.
Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, one of the league's strongest players when he pounds the offensive boards, hauled in a game-high 12 rebounds before a sellout crowd of 18,203 at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Nine of Anthony's boards came at the offensive end, which he parlayed into 11 points of his 36 points.
All told, 19 of New York's 41 rebounds came at the offensive end as the Knicks outscored the Thunder 23-15 in second-chance points. New York closed the game with a 15-2 run on second-chance points after OKC had led 13-8 late in the third quarter.
“It was a little bit small out there,” Anthony said. “They didn't really have no big men out there, so my advantage was to just try to attack the glass and try to get a quick tip-in here and there, and it worked.”
MELO NOW LEADS
Anthony overtook three-time scoring champion Kevin Durant in this year's scoring race. Anthony officially passed Durant in the third quarter, temporarily lost his lead early in the fourth quarter, then was able to pull away primarily because Durant's teammates didn't do him any favors by intentionally fouling Anthony in the final 31.3 seconds.
Anthony is now averaging 28.44 points per game. Durant, who finished with 27 points, is averaging 28.35 points.
Anthony and Durant have known each other for roughly a decade, having both grown up in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area, and shared a quick laugh shortly before the opening tip.
In the second half, after Anthony was knocked to the floor after converting a contested layup, he broke into a smile while running past Durant's brother, mother and grandmother seated in the front row, who apparently said something.
“That's my friend. That's my guy,” Anthony said of Durant. “I've been with him for a long time. We get a chance to know each other more and more. (He has) a great family, very supportive. It was good to see them today.”
Though the Knicks have beaten some quality teams during their 12-game winning streak, Sunday's victory over an OKC team that was at full strength and playing well might be the best of them all.