Oklahoma City, second best away team in the league after two weeks of competition! A rare team to still not have won at home, the Thunder continues to accumulate victories far from its bases. New demonstration tonight at Madison Square Garden, where OKC disposed of the Knicks without shaking too much.
However, visitors get very, very badly in this meeting. With the exception of Al Horford, hardly any Thunder player is able to take a shot in the first 12 minutes, which ended with a horrendous 21% hit. The tandem opposite, Elfrid Payton and RJ Barrett, take advantage of these difficulties to carry the Knicks (24-15), attacking the defense of the Thunder.
The rest of the events will be much less happy for the New York full-back duo in terms of skill (11/37 on shots between them)! After this terrible start to the match, the Thunder regained their spirits thanks to the activity of a few men from the bench like Kenrich Williams, Mike Muscala or even the rookie Aleksej Pokusevski.
Julius Randle pointless at the break
While Kevin Knox returns two award-winning shots, in each corner, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander responds by returning his first two shots of the match, behind the arc too. The debates are balanced but the address remains limited and the score does not take off at the break (42-41). New York can at least congratulate itself on returning to the locker room in the lead while its best player, Julius Randle, has not yet scored a point …
The awakening of the strong winger occurs in the third act, during which the interior is stuffed with balls to play his isolations. Despite his long arms, the young Darius Bazley is much too tender to interfere with the New York bull who multiplies the “jumpers”, after one or two dribbles or sometimes using the only “jab step”.
If the interior has a small festival, the rest of his team is much less inspired. And opposite, “SGA” is also gaining strength in the game, by multiplying the attacks of the circle. So that despite an award-winning shot at the buzzer from Austin Rivers, New York feels that the match is starting to slip through its fingers (63-69).
Hamidou Diallo’s big activity
This time, Doc’s son is not going to catch fire and New York foils in the minutes that count, like the rookie Immanuel Quickley, missed his subject (1/9). The Knicks lack lucidity in attack and defense, the Thunder players too easily reach the circle. Symbol of this lack of concentration, Julius Randle who raises the ball too quietly before being stolen from behind (only the 4th “turnover” of the match for NY…), by Hamidou Diallo who goes to the dunk.
The latter, with his best game of the year (23 points and 11 rebounds), is the X factor. Four minutes from time, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander buries the Knicks (76-89) with his “stepback” from afar, before reversing towards Luguentz Dort, still at 3-points, then finally propelling Hamidou Diallo to the “alley-oop” to close the debates.
Victory for the Thunder (4-4) which balances its record before facing the Nets at home on Sunday. The Knicks (5-4) host the Nuggets the same night.