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Knicks-Thunder Preview


Knicks-Thunder Preview
The New York Knicks' front line is riding high after outworking the NBA's best team. Adding Eddy Curry to the mix can give their confidence even more of a boost.

Coming off an impressive win, the Knicks may have Curry on the floor for the first time this season when they face the league-worst Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night.

New York (13-19) enters a four-game road trip after beating Boston 100-88 on Sunday night, snapping an eight-game losing streak to the Celtics.

The Knicks got an outstanding effort from their big men, with David Lee, Wilson Chandler and Al Harrington outplaying Kevin Garnett and the rest of the defending champions' frontcourt. Now, New York is close to putting Curry back in the rotation.

Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said the veteran center, out all season with a knee injury, could play at some point during the team's trip.

It might be a while before Curry is in game shape, especially with New York playing an up-tempo style under D'Antoni this season, but New York could use another strong inside presence. Curry regressed last season, averaging 13.2 points and 4.7 rebounds after posting career highs with 19.5 points and 7.0 boards per game in 2006-07.

It would be tough to take playing time from Chandler, Lee and Harrington.

Chandler scored a career-high 31 points against the Celtics and Lee added 14 points and 14 rebounds for his 22nd double-double of the season - third-most in the league. Harrington, meanwhile, came off the bench to score 30 points and New York improved to 4-0 when he reaches that mark.

That trio also helped hold Garnett to a season-low six points. The Knicks, allowing 107.2 points a contest, limited Boston to one of its lowest-scoring games of the season.

"We've been close in a lot of games. I thought we've played and we haven't finished games," D'Antoni said. "I don't want to get too far ahead of us. That was a great win and we'll try to get better on the defensive end. If we can have that effort and learn how to finish games ... we'll just see if we can keep building on it."

New York's focus will now turn to stopping Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant. The second-year swingman is averaging 23.8 points and shooting 44.4 percent from 3-point range.

Durant made a 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left to put the Thunder (4-30) on the verge of an unexpected victory over Denver on Friday night, but Carmelo Anthony upstaged him by making his own 3 with 0.1 seconds left as Oklahoma City lost 122-120.

The Thunder lost on a last-second shot for the third time this season, having fallen in similar fashion to Minnesota and Detroit.

Durant had 33 points for Oklahoma City, which shot a season-high 58.4 percent from the field and posted its highest point total of the season.

Durant had 23 points versus the Knicks on Nov. 13, but the Thunder lost 116-106.

Oklahoma City rookie Russell Westbrook added 19 points, 10 rebounds and six assists off the bench in that game.

The point guard, drafted fourth overall, is now starting and has embraced that role. He was named Western Conference rookie of the month for December and is averaging 15.2 points and 5.0 assists since moving into the starting lineup on Nov. 29.

"With Russell, I think he has to continue to improve, continue to study the game, and he has," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "He's improving every week. That's a good sign."


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 5, 2009

 

 
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