Tonight is going to be exciting (Hopefully). We have the top two scorers in the league going head-to-head (Hopefully Carmelo is back). We also have the 1st and 2nd place 2012 Defensive Player of the Year Award nominees from last year.
They key's to victory for the Knicks are simple. Here are the basics:
- Can the Knicks guards stop Russell Westbrook?
- Can Carmelo stop Durant?
- Will Amare play well against Serge?
- Will Carmelo Play?
- Will Carmelo get on a roll?
- Can the Knicks limit turnovers?
- Can the Knicks stop the fast break?
Last time the Knicks played the Thunder, Durant and Westbrook ran the fast break and killed the Knicks. Westbrook had 21 points, 8 assists, and 8 rebounds and Durant had 28 points. Can the Knicks stop these two? If they can force Westbrook into a poor shooting night (and a lot of turnovers), the Knicks will hold the score close. If they can hold Westbrook, and keep Durant to 25 points, the Knicks will win. Also in that game last year, the Knicks had 20 turnovers and the Thunder then killed the Knicks on fast breaks.
If Carmelo doesn't play, I don't think the Knicks have a chance. Amare against the possible Defensive Player of the Year will not end well.
The keys for the Thunder are sort of the same as always.
- Will they limit turnovers?
- Will Westbrook limit turnovers, share with Durant, and score 20+ points?
- Will Durant score his usual 28+ points?
- Will Serge stop Amare?
- Will they be able to stop Carmelo?
- Can they get out on fast breaks and kill the Knicks in a running game?
- In fast breaks, can Kevin Martin hit his 3 pointers?
The last time the Thunder played the Knicks, they did everything on that list except limit turnovers. They had 21 turnovers last time and this year the Knicks have Raymond Felton, Prigioni, and Kidd to run the fast break. If they have 21 turnovers again, the Knicks will hang with the Thunder the whole game. Also last game, Westbrook and Durant scored well. Westbrook had 21 points and Durant had 28. If they can do this again, the Thunder will be in control of the game. Serge, last year, dominated Amare. He held him to 14 points and 6 rebounds. Disappointingly, Carmelo was out last year. Hopefully today is different.
My pick for today is the Thunder. I think Westbrook will play great and so will Durant. I just can't see Iman, Kidd, Prigioni, Felton, Copeland, or Carmelo stopping Durant and Westbrook.
Video of last year's game: