OKLAHOMA CITY -- The past three seasons, Kevin Durant has taken on all comers. Whether it was LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, no matter who came after the Oklahoma City All-Star for the NBA scoring title, he found a way to hold them off.
Durant may have met his match this season. New York's Carmelo Anthony was in full scoring-machine mode Sunday when the Knicks paid a visit to Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Anthony scored 36 points and grabbed nine offensive rebounds to lead New York to a 125-120 win over Oklahoma City and extend the Knicks' win streak to 12 games. He also took over the NBA scoring lead in the process.
The Knicks (50-26) led 112-111 with 3:30 left in the game. Westbrook, who had just scored four straight points, turned the ball over. Anthony made the Thunder (56-21) pay when he bulled his way to the basket and put back his own miss.
After a Raymond Felton free throw for New York, Westbrook knocked down a jumper to get Oklahoma City within 115-113. The Knicks' J.R. Smith answered with consecutive 3-pointers to put the Thunder away.
Smith scored 22 points for New York off the bench. Tyson Chandler and Felton combined for 31.
Durant paced Oklahoma City with 27 points on 7-of-17 shooting from the field to go along with seven assists and four blocks. But he failed to score a point in final five minutes of the game.
Westbrook finished with 37 points and eight assists. Kevin Martin added 15 points and Reggie Jackson chipped in with 13.
The Knicks' game plan early was simple. They were going to take the ball out of Durant's hands at every opportunity with a automatic double team. Durant didn't attempt a shot in the first quarter.
The tactic allowed other Oklahoma City players, such as Serge Ibaka, to find shots. He started the game 4 of 4 from the field and had four blocks as the Thunder led 31-30 after one quarter.
The Knicks got an unexpected boost off the bench from Chris Copeland, who posted 13 points in the first half. He was able to take defenders off the dribble or knock down long distance 3-pointers.
The combination of Copeland and Anthony allowed New York to take a 65-56 advantage into halftime.
New York pushed its lead to 12 before Oklahoma City went on a run and closed to a point at 84-83. Westbrook paced the spurt with a couple of steals, several assists and 14 points.
Anthony responded with eight of the Knicks'next 11 points, hitting two 3-pointers.
The Thunder trailed 96-89 heading into the fourth quarter.
NOTES: In his 19th year, New York's Jason Kidd is still putting up eye-popping numbers. The backup point guard is the career leader in games, assists, steals and minutes. He is also No. 2 in 3-pointers. During Kidd's rookie year, Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks was his teammate and still marvels at his longevity. "He's good," Brooks said. "His biggest asset is his heart. He just has the will to win every possession. He's been able to make shots as his career has evolved. That's due to the work he has put in." ... New York was short-handed in the frontcourt playing without Kenyon Martin and Marcus Camby. It was a second consecutive DNP for Martin and Camby has missed five straight games. ... It's expected to be announced that former New York Knick Bernard King will be inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame. Knicks coach Mike Woodson said it's about time. "Before he tore his knee up, he was just unbelievable," Woodson said. "He was relentless. Nobody could stop him from scoring the basketball. He had the will and the knack to put the ball in the hole. He was a tough competitor. Hard nosed. Nasty."