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George, Westbrook lead Thunder over Knicks 127-109

By JEFFREY BERNSTEINJanuary 22, 2019
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New York Knicks forward Noah Vonleh (32) defends as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George (13) bobbles the ball beneath the Thunder's basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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New York Knicks forward Noah Vonleh (32) defends as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George (13) bobbles the ball beneath the Thunder's basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

NEW YORK (AP) — Paul George, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder put this game away in a hurry.

The Thunder never trailed, bolting to a big lead and romping past the New York Knicks 127-109 on Monday.

George scored 31 points and Westbrook just missed a triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. George and Westbrook both sat out the fourth quarter.

“We went out with a 20-point lead and our second unit came in and did the same thing,” George said. “At that point, game is over.”

The Knicks have lost six in a row and 14 of 15, including nine straight at Madison Square Garden.

Dennis Schroder added 17 points for the Thunder while both Jerami Grant and Abdel Nader each had 16.

Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Knicks with 23 points. Allonzo Trier had 16 and Emmanuel Mudiay scored 14.

George opened the scoring with a three-point play and the Thunder never trailed in the game. They led 34-12 late in the first quarter.

“It’s the one-quarter woes,” Hardaway said. “We have to come out more aggressive. You just have to keep looking ahead. You can’t take any of these seconds, minutes or hours back.”

New York got within 15 before Westbrook’s three-point play gave Oklahoma City a 61-37 lead with 2:21 left in the second quarter.

Oklahoma City shot 61.9 percent (13 of 21) on 3-pointers in the first half and 51.7 percent (15 of 29) overall.

“We did a good job,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “One of the things that helped is we shot really well from beyond the 3-point line in the first half, and really the whole game.”

The Knicks got no closer than 14 the rest of the way.

Steve Adams added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Thunder, who have won two straight after losing five of their previous six games.

Enes Kanter had 11 points and Noah Vonleh 10 for the Knicks.

TIP-INS

Thunder: Since moving from Seattle to Oklahoma City prior to the 2008-09 season, the Thunder have posted a 15-6 record against the Knicks, including wins in six of the last seven meetings.

Knicks: Vonleh is the only Knick to play in all 45 games this season. He has started 38 times, second most on the team behind Hardaway (41) . Kanter returned to action after missing three games.

KING FOR A DAY

The Knicks have usually excelled on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. New York has gone 21-12 overall since the national holiday was first observed in 1986. The Knicks lost to the 76ers on January 20, 1986, but won their next their next nine games on the holiday.

“It’s a blessing to be able to play on Martin Luther King Day,” Westbrook said. “The things he’s done for guys like myself and guys in this locker room to be able to go out and play, to walk around freely and do things in the world is exceptional.”

OFFENSIVE THUNDER

Oklahoma City has four players averaging at least 15 points per game (George, Westbrook, Adams, Schroder). Only five other NBA teams (Bucks, Clippers, Pelicans, Rockets, 76ers) have as many. In contrast, the Knicks only have one (Hardaway).

OUT AT HOME

The Knicks haven’t won at home since a 136-134 overtime victory against the Bucks on Dec. 1. New York is now 4-14 at MSG.

UP NEXT

Thunder: Oklahoma City hosts Portland on Tuesday.

Knicks: New York hosts Houston on Wednesday.

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