In a hard-fought game oscillating between sloppy and electric, the Knicks came up just short against the young juggernaut Thunder.

The New York Knicks welcomed the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder for an Easter Sunday match-up at MSG. In an exciting game that went down to the wire, the Knicks lost 113-112 in a heartbreaker as they couldn’t convert on the final attempt of the game.

The opening quarter began with both teams trading buckets. Early on, OKC implemented a zone defense to slow down Jalen Brunson but the Knicks were able to take advantage getting up the floor for quick baskets to take the lead and take a five-point lead heading into the second quarter. The Knicks’ defense was on display, holding one of the best offenses in the league to just 17 points in the first quarter. 

In the second quarter, OKC’s Jalen Williams went to work, taking over the scoring to keep his team within striking distance of the Knicks. New York would again start to take control of the game with help from Isaiah Hartenstein’s dominance in the paint using his physicality against slender standout Chet Williams. The Knicks’ scoring slowed down late in the quarter, however, as OKC went on a 10-2 run to take a 48-44, four-point lead with under a minute left in the first half. Jalen Brunson was able to get a late whistle on a three-point attempt to cut OKC’s lead to just two points but once again it was Jalen Williams who would put the finishing touches on his magnificent 17-point first half knocking down yet another midrange jumper with a second left giving his team at 50-46 lead heading into half time.

The Knicks opened up the third quarter scoring eight straight regaining the lead. After a quiet first half, Jalen Brunson began going to work scoring 10 points as the Knicks built a 10-point lead. 

New York continued to control the game as they kept building on their excellent play, keeping up their defensive tenacity and finding the three-point shot. Late in the period, the Knicks were called for a blocking foul that would’ve cut their lead to seven points but an irate Tom Thibodeau had seen enough and decided after not seeing calls go New York’s way and decided to challenge the play; after a successful challenge the Knicks retained their 10-point lead heading to fourth ahead 85-75.

In the final period, OKC got off to a quick start, slicing the Knicks lead to just five points. They continued their barrage connecting on five straight field goals tying the game. Things got a little nippy after OKC was assessed a flagrant foul on Hartenstein but that didn’t stop their aggression. The Thunder were able to regain the lead, their first since the third quarter and the Knicks were able to tie the game at 95 a piece but OKC took a four-point lead midway through the quarter.

Josh Giddey took over in the fourth quarter as OKC took an eight-point lead with under minutes remaining. The Knicks quickly cut the lead to three following a Brunson basket and three free throws from Deuce McBride. Brunson with his aggressive play kept the Knicks alive as he was able to draw a foul with the chance to cut the lead to just one but missed both attempts the Knicks were able to keep the possession alive finding Brunson who knocked down a clutch three to keep it tie the game.

Jalen Williams answered back with a three-pointer of his own to take back the three-point lead. The Knicks would once again cut the lead to just one after McBride’s three but Jalen Williams again answered for the Thunder as they held on to a slim three-point lead. DiVincenzo was able to draw a foul on rebound putting him on the line to cut the lead back to one and after connecting on one of two with OKC held a slim 111-109 lead with under 30 seconds.

The Knicks would commit a foul on the other end putting Jalen Williams at the line and like everyone else in the fourth quarter he missed both critical attempts. The Knicks regained possession and Jalen Brunson scored on a driving lay-up with a lot of contact and no call, giving the Knicks a slim 112-111 lead with 4.1 seconds remaining in regulation. When it seemed the Knicks had battled back for the win Shai Gilgeous-Alexander knocked down a game-winning shot with 1.8 remaining. Brunson with a chance to win at the buzzer was unsuccessful with the shot hitting the side of the rim as time expired.

All Knicks starters scored in double figures. Jalen Brunson scored 30 points and Isaiah Hartenstein had a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Josh Hart also poured in his double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds. Deuce McBride and Donte DiVincenzo had big buckets scoring 19 and 15 points, respectively. The Bench left much to be desired as they didn’t help the starters stay in control of the game.

Next up the Knicks head down to Miami to take on the Heat on Tuesday at 7:30 pm. 

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