OKLAHOMA CITY — The showdown between the NBA’s top two scorers turned out to be a mismatch.
Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant outscored New York’s Carmelo Anthony 41-15, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the New York Knicks 112-100 on Sunday.
Durant, the league’s leading scorer, also had 10 rebounds and nine assists. Anthony, the league’s No. 2 scorer, had 15 points on 5-for-19 shooting for the Knicks.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks took Durant out of the game with 1:24 remaining, leaving Durant short of a rare 40-point triple-double by a single assist.
“I got on Serge (Ibaka),” Durant said, laughing. “He missed a dunk and he passed up a shot.”
Durant also was largely responsible for guarding Anthony.
“He missed some shots that he normally makes,” Durant said. “I just tried to play as strong as I can, contest some shots and not get discouraged when he hits them because he makes tough shots and he’s a guy that can get hot. I just try to rely on my teammates, and they did a great job of helping me out, building a wall behind me, and I just tried to play as hard as I can.”
Reggie Jackson had 19 points and six assists and Ibaka had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Thunder, who were coming off a 103-102 loss to struggling Orlando on Friday night.
Raymond Felton and Amare Stoudemire each scored 16 points for the Knicks, who have lost four of five.
The Thunder made 12 3-pointers and shot 55 percent overall.
PISTONS: Fired coach Maurice Cheeks on Sunday after less than a year as coach, with the Pistons languishing well below .500 despite off-season moves aimed at putting the struggling franchise back in contention.
Detroit is 21-29, and although the Pistons still have a decent chance to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, their new roster has performed erratically.
“This was a difficult decision for the organization to make but we needed to make a change,” team president Joe Dumars said in a statement. “We have great respect for Maurice and appreciate his hard work.”
A person with knowledge of Detroit’s plans said assistant John Loyer will take over as interim coach.
The Pistons haven’t made the playoffs since being swept in the first round in 2009 – in Michael Curry’s only season as their coach. Since then, Detroit has gone through two seasons under John Kuester and two under Lawrence Frank.