NEW YORK – Fresh off signing a contract that will keep him with the New York Knicks for the remainder of the season, Langston Galloway provided a spark with 18 points, four assists, four rebounds and three steals in New York’s 100-92 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
The Knicks (9-37) have won three straight at Madison Square Garden for the first time this season and have claimed four of their last five games overall.
The Thunder played their second straight game without forward Kevin Durant, who was out with a sprained big toe. Russell Westbrook poured in 40 points for Oklahoma City (23-23). The sixth-year guard was 13 of 29 from the floor and 12 of 12 from the line.
Forward Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 31 points and 10 rebounds, and forward Lance Thomas added 17 points and five rebounds. Thomas is playing on his second 10-day contract of the month.
“My approach is not going to change,” said Thomas. “I am going to continue to be a professional, put in my work and do everything in my power to help us win games.”
Galloway, a 6-foot-2 guard, was signed for the remainder of the season Tuesday after playing on two 10-day contracts. The undrafted rookie from St. Joseph’s has averaged 15.2 points and 5.8 rebounds while starting the last five games. He was the Knicks first-ever call-up from the D-League.
“He (Galloway) is not fearful of any moment when he’s out there,” said Knicks coach Derek Fisher. “He trusts himself and he plays with a confident toughness that has been really good for our group.
“Those are the kind of guys we want to have to build this thing out.”
In just three weeks with the team, Galloway has impressed Anthony.
“Langston can play,” he said. “I don’t think a lot of people know about him, He is great at getting in the paint and scoring the basketball.”
Forward Lou Amundson, who is also playing on his second 10-day contract for the Knicks, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked four shots — both season highs for him.
The Thunder got to within 82-80 with 5:03 remaining, but the Knicks sealed the win with a 10-0 run to move ahead 92-80. Anthony scored four points in the burst and guard Tim Hardaway Jr. drilled a 3-pointer.
Hardaway Jr. scored all of his 14 points in the second half.
“The second half he (Hardaway) had tonight won the game for us,” said Fisher. “He’s growing up before us and I’m happy for him.”
New York scored eight straight points to grab an 82-73 lead with 6:03 to play. Hardaway Jr. fueled the run with two 3-pointers. But the Thunder stormed back on the strength of seven straight points from Westbrook in 43 seconds, cutting the Knicks lead to 82-80.
“I thought they outworked us throughout the game and that enabled them to have a hot fourth quarter,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “We have to do a better job at playing the entire game and player possession.
“Tonight wasn’t the way we built our team. Give (the Knicks) credit, they outworked us.”
Westbrook and Anthony put on a shooting display in the third quarter. The duo scored 11 points each in the period, but it was Hardaway Jr.’s 3-point pull-up jumper with nine seconds left that gave the Knicks a narrow 68-67 edge going into the fourth.
The Knicks’ 20-19 first quarter lead was erased by a 13-4 Thunder run to open the second, providing them with a 32-24 advantage. Guard Reggie Jackson contributed three steals, six points and a rebound in the burst.
NOTES: Knicks F Jason Smith posted 11 points and grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. … Thunder F Serge Ibaka scored 10 points and recorded 10 rebounds for his 12th double-double this season. … Knicks C Amar’e Stoudemire missed his 14th game of the season with a sprained left ankle, and F Travis Wear was sidelined with a strained left hip. … The Knicks had been off for three days after Monday’s home game against Sacramento was postponed due to a snow storm. The game has been rescheduled for March 3. … Knicks F Carmelo Anthony is averaging 29.5 points against the Thunder since 2005-06, his highest mark against any team during that span. … Thunder G Russell Westbrook is averaging 24 points in 11 games against New York, the most against any opponent for him. … Oklahoma City C Steven Adams was selected for the second consecutive season to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge to be held on Friday, Feb. 13, at Barclays Center as part of All-Star weekend.
Rockets spoil Griffin’s return in testy affair
If James Harden needed any extra motivation against the Los Angeles Clippers, he found it in the first half.
Harden scored 34 points, and the Rockets held on for a 100-98 victory over the Clippers in a sometimes testy affair on Sunday at Staples Center.
Point guard Chris Paul, who finished with 23 points, missed a contested shot at the buzzer that would have forced overtime.
“It was very important for us just to go out there and play well,” said Harden, who hit seven of 16 shots from the floor, three of five from 3-point range and 17 of 18 free throws. “The last two games we kind of struggled a little bit, but we got our pop back a little bit today, and it was a good win for us.”
Harden provided much of that pop, particularly in the second quarter after Clippers forward Matt Barnes was whistled for a flagrant-1 foul after pushing Harden to the court at 6:02. Harden scored 15 of his 18 points in the period after that, leading the Rockets to a 58-50 halftime lead.
Did the flagrant foul add more fuel for the Rockets’ All-Star guard and MVP candidate?
“Yeah. Things like that are fun,” said Harden, who had 24 points in the first half. “We have fun, we got boosted off of that.”
The win ended a two-game skid for the Rockets (44-22). Houston forward Trevor Ariza scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while forward Terrence Jones added 16 points and 12 boards.
“This was a win that we needed, especially on the road,” Ariza said. “Going into the home stretch, these are the types of games we have to win.”
Los Angeles forward Blake Griffin returned after missing 15 games due to surgery on his right elbow. Griffin had 11 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, but committed five turnovers in 41 minutes.
“I didn’t think I played well,” said Griffin, who managed 4-of-10 shooting. “I was out of rhythm. Way too many turnovers, obviously.”
Barnes scored 19 points and guard J.J. Redick had 15 for the Clippers (42-24), who fell into a tie for the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference standings with the Dallas Mavericks.
Paul lamented a host of turnovers in the defeat, including a critical one involving center DeAndre Jordan.
“I had some bad turnovers,” said Paul, who committed three of the Clippers’ 20 miscues compared to 13 for the Rockets. “On one, I drove it off DeAndre’s foot, the other one I lost towards the end of the half. We have to take better care of the ball. We still had an opportunity to win, but we just didn’t do it.”
The Clippers came back from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit. Paul scored seven straight points, capping it with a 3-point basket to tie the score at 96 with 3:05 left in the game. Houston got a 3-pointer by Jones, but Barnes countered with a basket to keep Los Angeles within 99-98 with 1:35 left. Los Angeles, though, never scored again.
Griffin got a steal as Ariza attempted a pass to Harden, but Ariza drew a charging foul as Griffin bolted to the bucket with 12 seconds remaining. Griffin remained unhappy about the call after the game.
“If I speak on that, I’ll get fined,” Griffin said.
Harden hit one of two foul shots with 8.9 seconds left, capping the scoring before Paul failed to connect on a jumper in the lane with Ariza defending.
The Rockets outscored Los Angeles 36-20 in the second quarter despite making just 38.5 percent of their shots compared to 44.4 percent for the Clippers. Overall, the Clippers hit 43.9 percent to 37.2 percent for the Rockets. They also held an edge in 3-point shooting, converting 12 of 26 attempts to seven of 30 for Houston. The Rockets, though were 29 of 36 from the foul line to 14 of 24 for Los Angeles.
Jordan finished with 20 rebounds and four blocks.
NOTES: F Blake Griffin’s return benefits PG Chris Paul as much as any Clipper. “Teams have been able to trap (Paul) far more than they can when Blake is on the floor because of (Griffin’s) ability to pass,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “I’m sure CP is the happiest of all to have him back.” … Rivers isn’t sure if injured G Jamal Crawford would return before the playoffs. Crawford has missed six games with a right calf contusion. … Rockets C Dwight Howard sat out his 18th game with a right knee edema. “He’s doing everything he can, he’s trying to get better, but until you’re on the floor, it’s impossible to say,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said regarding Howard’s return. … Both clubs resume play Tuesday. Houston hosts the Orlando Magic, while Los Angeles plays the Charlotte Hornets at Staples Center.
Spurs’ Ginobili sprains ankle
SAN ANTONIO — Guard Manu Ginobili was helped off the floor late in the third quarter of the San Antonio Spurs’ game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday due to a sprained right ankle.
Ginobili went down with 43 seconds left in the quarter and with the Spurs leading the Timberwolves by 30 points. He was immediately was led to the locker room, and he did not put any weight on his right leg as he was carried off the court. He did not return to the game.
In 19 minutes during the Spurs’ 123-97 win over the Timberwolves, Ginobili scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting. He battled a stomach illness last week, forcing him to miss a game against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday and leading him to play limited minutes against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday.
NBA notebook: Clippers’ Griffin cleared to return
Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin, out the last 15 games with an elbow injury, was cleared to return Sunday against the Houston Rockets.
Griffin had surgery five weeks ago to remove a staph infection in his right elbow.
“He said, ‘I’m ready,'” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said before Sunday’s game. “Yesterday the trainers called me and said, ‘If he can go, he can go. He’s been cleared.'”
Rivers said timing likely will be an adjustment for Griffin.
“Timing is timing,” Rivers said. “You lose it when you don’t play in an NBA game. Sometimes you come back and you play great the first game and then you lose your timing. Sometimes it doesn’t. As far as the way we play, it won’t be hard for him at all.”
In 51 games this season, Griffin is averaging 22.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists.
–Spurs guard Manu Ginobili had to be helped off the floor late in the third quarter against Minnesota on Sunday. Ginobili went down with 43 seconds left in the quarter and with the Spurs leading the Timberwolves by 30 points.
He was helped off the floor and immediately was led to the locker room. He did not put any weight on his right leg as he was carried off the court.
Up to that point, Ginobili had scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting in 19 minutes. He battled a stomach illness last week, forcing him to miss a game against Toronto and play limited minutes against Cleveland on March 12.
–Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr sent emails to three fans who were disappointed that he rested several prominent players, including All-Star guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, in Friday’s loss to the Nuggets in Denver.
“There’s two really good sides to the story,” Kerr said, according to the Associated Press report. “Nobody’s wrong here. … I can’t argue with them.”
Kerr received an email from a family that drove from South Dakota to Denver to see Curry, Thompson and the entertaining Warriors play. But Curry, Thompson, center Andrew Bogut and reserve guard Andre Iguodala did not play so they could be rested, and the Warriors lost 114-103.
“I heard from some fans. I received a few emails, stories about driving in from a long distance off and spending a lot of money on tickets,” Kerr said. “I have great sympathy for those people. I really do. It’s a tricky one. It’s something that I think Adam Silver is trying to address through the scheduling shuffling that he’s talking about.
–The Dallas Mavericks recalled center/forward Dwight Powell from the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League on Sunday.
The 6-foot-11, 240-pound Powell played in one game during his most recent assignment to the D-League and finished with 28 points, five rebounds and two assists to lead the Legends in a 115-89 win over the Austin Spurs on Saturday night.
Powell has appeared in 19 games for the Mavericks this season, averaging 3.5 points and 2.2 rebounds in 10.0 minutes per game.
–The Atlanta Hawks signed forward Austin Daye to a 10-day contract Sunday.
Daye appeared in 26 games (four starts) earlier this season with the San Antonio Spurs, averaging 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10.3 minutes.
In 10 games this season with the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League, Daye has averaged 16.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 blocks in 28.5 minutes.
–The Miami Heat recalled guard Zoran Dragic from the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA Development League on Sunday.
Zoran appeared in four games (one start) and averaged 16.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.50 steals, helping the Skyforce to a 3-1 record over that span.