Oklahoma City Thunder vs New York Knicks
When: 7:30 PM ET, Monday, November 28, 2016
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
|505||OKLAHOMA CITY||0 (-110)||214.5 (-110)||-110
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Oklahoma, MSG (New York)
PREDICTION: Thunder 110, Knicks 109
Point guards Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook, chosen first and fourth, respectively, in the 2008 draft, will renew acquaintances on Monday when the New York Knicks host the Oklahoma City Thunder at Madison Square Garden.
Rose’s Knicks (8-8) have won six straight at the Garden. Westbrook’s Thunder (10-8) are 4-3 on the road.
Oklahoma City comes in after a 106-88 win over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday when Westbrook posted 17 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds for his second consecutive triple-double and seventh this season. It was also his 44th career triple-double, which ties him with Cleveland’s LeBron James. It took Westbrook 395 fewer games than James to achieve the milestone.
Westbrook passed Fat Lever in all-time triple doubles to move into sixth place all-time. The UCLA product had 18 games in which he was either one assist or one rebound short of a triple double.
Westbrook averaged 32 points against the Knicks in two games last season.
“He’s a Hall of Fame player,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said of Westbrook. “I mean that’s really what he is. He’s a Hall of Fame player.”
While Westbrook is humming along in his ninth season with the Thunder, averaging 31 points, 11 assists and 9.9 rebounds, Rose continues to get acclimated in his first season as New York’s point guard. He’s averaging 15.9 points and five assists a game.
The Knicks have recently lacked a point guard with Rose’s ability to accelerate to the rim and bounce off the pick-and-roll for layups. His arrival in the Big Apple after an offseason trade with Chicago and the development of power forward Kristaps Porzingis have alleviated some of the scoring burden from Carmelo Anthony.
The 32-year-old forward, who has been the Knicks’ top scorer since he arrived in a 2011 trade from Denver, has been buoyed by Rose, who he invited over for Thanksgiving dinner.
“It’s an easy transition for me,” Anthony told Newsday. “I always wanted somebody or other guys who can do it for me. Sometimes you want to play the back end and do what you do from that aspect. You don’t always want to be in the driver’s seat.”
New York’s other big offseason acquisition, center Joakim Noah, who played with Rose in Chicago, has struggled. He missed two games with flu-like symptoms, but since his return against the Charlotte Hornets on Friday, Noah hasn’t provided much offense. Noah has scored in double-figures only once this season.
He played just 12 minutes in the 107-102 loss to Charlotte in the back-end of a home-and-home on Saturday and didn’t take a shot, posting his fourth scoreless game of the season. He sat out the fourth quarter as the Knicks staged a late comeback.
“Those are not things I can control,” Noah told the New York Post about being on the bench in the fourth quarter. “All I can control is my progress. I need to play better and I will. I just got to stay working. I need to play better and I will.”