Two of the NBA's best pure scorers were scheduled to go head to head tonight in OKC when the Thunder hosted the Knicks but Carmelo Anthony's ankle injury has likely put that storyline on hold.
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, of course, is one of the more dynamic scorers in the NBA and is averaging 25 points per game in his last five contests as the New York arrives in town.
The Thunder are just one of two teams in the NBA with 10 or more wins (Chicago) and have ripped off five straight victories since a two-game slide. They posted their third straight win on the road with a 95-85 victory in New Orleans on Wednesday thanks to 29 points and 10 rebounds from Durant, who is averaging 25.7 ppg this season.
"He's the scoring champion of the league two times. You can't stop guys like that from scoring, but you can try to make them take tough shots, which we did tonight," Hornets reserve DaJuan Summers said of Durant.
"It's a group effort to guard guys like that. It's not a one-man assignment."
Russell Westbrook scored 22 with seven assists, while James Harden had 14 points off the bench for Oklahoma City, which is in the midst of playing five of six games on the road and owns a 5-1 mark as the host. Oklahoma City has won five games in six days.
After hosting the Knicks the Thunder will open a three-game trek against the Celtics, Wizards and Nets. They are 5-1 away from the Sooner State.
Anthony, meanwhile, is doubtful for tonight's game after he left Thursday's 94-83 loss at Memphis with a sprained right ankle. Anthony, who leads the team with 26.6 points per game, went down early in the second half and finished with 14 points and three rebounds. He also injured his left wrist earlier in the game and is day-to-day.
"I'm real sore," Anthony told the Knicks' official website. "Hopefully, I will be alright. I can wrap the wrist and play through that. A sore ankle is a little bit more to deal with. I've been getting beat up for nine years, so, I'm not worried about getting beat up. I'm going to get through it."
Iman Shumpert scored 12 points and Bill Walker matched his season-high with 14 points for New York, which entered the game riding a four-game winning streak and with victories in five of seven contests. The Knicks will return to Madison Square Garden following Saturday's game to host the Magic, Suns, Bucks and Nuggets.
The Knicks and Thunder split a pair of meetings a year ago, with each team prevailing as the host. Oklahoma City has won seven of the last nine encounters with New York, losers in each of its last four games at OKC.