The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Kevin Durant had 34 points, including the go-ahead free throws with 1:38 left, and the Oklahoma City Thunder pulled out a 95-94 victory over the New York Knicks on Thursday night.
Russell Westbrook struggled over the final three quarters but finished with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists in the Thunder’s first trip to New York since Dec. 22, 2010. Durant also had eight boards and six assists.
Oklahoma City posted its third straight win, fighting off a spirited effort by a Knicks team missing All-Star Carmelo Anthony.
J.R. Smith scored a season-high 36 points for the Knicks, but missed a turnaround jumper that would have won it as time ran out.
Anthony missed his second straight game with what the Knicks said is a stiff and sore right knee.
Irving’s knee still a concern for Cavaliers
CLEVELAND — The Cavaliers won’t risk losing Kyrie Irving for any more games.
On Thursday, Cleveland coach Byron Scott said he will consider shutting down his All-Star point guard, who recently missed three games with a hyperextended right knee and said after Wednesday’s comeback win over Utah that the injury was still bothering him.
“If Ky is hurting, I have no problem sitting him down,” Scott said.
Playing his second straight game after resting for a week, Irving scored 20 points with 10 rebounds and seven assists as the Cavs overcame a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter and beat the Jazz 104-101. Irving scored 11 points in the final 4:21, but after the game said his knee still wasn’t 100 percent.
“The only way I would get better is if I sit out for the rest of the season, and I’m not doing that,” Irving said.
The comment surprised Scott, who said he will talk to Irving and trainer Max Benton before any decisions are made.
“If there is any way of doing more damage by continuing to play, then I’ll find that out and we’ll go from there,” Scott said. “I want him (Irving) to go out there and play and be effective for us,” Scott said. “I don’t want him playing at 100 percent.”
Irving played almost 38 minutes against the Jazz and didn’t seem to be slowed by the right knee, which he banged against teammate Omri Casspi’s knee in a practice two weeks ago. The Cavs rested their 20-year-old star for three games and he returned Monday night when Cleveland hosted the Knicks.
Irving did not speak with reporters following a light practice. With games almost every other day, Scott is using the off days to have his players work on their shooting and lift weights.