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Thunder Roll Late Over Bobcats; Get Ready for NYC | December
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The Oklahoma City needed a strong final push to pull ahead from the Charlotte Bobcats in the fourth quarter of last night's road 99-81 victory. Now, they have less than a day to prepare for a matchup with the resurgent New York Knicks in the Mecca of sporting venues - Madison Square Garden.


 In a game that featured a pair of sluggish offenses for the first three quarters, the Thunder turned it up a notch on the defensive end in the final frame to outscore the Bobcats 31-12 to run away with a late victory. Surprisingly, Oklahoma City trailed Charlotte by a point entering the fourth, but were thankfully able to turn around what would have been a bad loss, considering the Bobcats had lost two of their last three games by 33 points each and Gerald Wallace was watching this one from the sidelines. But when you are able to start the fourth quarter with a 25-3 run, all can quickly be forgotten. At least, forgiven.

Kevin Durant led the team to victory with 32 points on 8-13 shooting from the field. Charlotte could not keep him off of the free throw line, as he went 14-16 from the charity stripe. He also added 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Russell Westbrook had 15 points and 4 assists, but continues to struggle to find his shot after a 5-13 performance. But he still continues to knock down important free throws and run this team in key situations.

As for some other numbers in this one, Serge Ibaka had 10 points and 9 rebounds in just 25 minutes, although he shot just 3-9 from the field. James Harden had 13 points coming off of the bench, while Nick Collison continues to give the team some important minutes in a reserve role, as he pulled down 10 rebounds in 29 minutes. He has told reporters that he feels as if he can just be himself, and play without limitations. If he continues to shine, then you could see his minutes increase.

Nenad Kristic was expected to return for this game, as I first reported on Twitter (@RobKelley24) yesterday, but his back stiffened up prior to game time and the team proceeded with caution and had him sit out another night. It is not yet known if he will return to the lineup tonight in New York, but Scott Brooks has said that there is no pressure on him to return.

In case you are wondering about the picture with this article, it is a shot of me at the NBA Store in New York City. I am that much of a ham, but I have a reason for including this picture as the lead photo in the article. After I walked down the staircase that is more or less a shrine to LeBron James with a little bit of Michael Jordan thrown in, I finally found the Oklahoma City section. Ironically enough, the Durant jersey that I am holding was actually right next to the New York Knicks' locker with Amar'e Stoudamire's jerseys hanging down. I felt as if this would be a good picture to feature, with tonight's big game at Madison Square Garden tonight. I will be the first to admit that I have never been a fan of the Knicks. In fact, I have always been far from one. But I also have to say that I think it is good for the game of basketball to have the Knicks relevant once again in the NBA. There are some teams that whether you root for or against them, you still like to see them matter.

With all that said, I maintain hopeful that the Thunder can deal the Knicks their fourth straight loss after they had been on a big winning streak.



 

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