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Kevin Durant out against Knicks

Oklahoma City Thunder v New York Knicks

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 25: J.R. Smith #8 of the New York Knicks guards Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder during a game at Madison Square Garden in New York City on December 25, 2013. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

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The Thunder, thanks to early season injuries to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, are still 2.5 games and two spots outside playoff position.

Most assume they’ll pass the Pelicans and Suns at some point. Meanwhile, the season continues, and Oklahoma City’s margin for error diminishes.

The Thunder beat Minnesota on Monday without Durant, and they’ll again be without their superstar.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

The Thunder’s record with Westbrook and/or Durant in the lineup goes how you’d expect:

  • Both: 14-7
  • Just Westbrook: 5-5
  • Neither: 4-10

But these are the Knicks. With a rusty Westbrook returning from a 14-game absence, Oklahoma City beat the Knicks by 37 in November. There’s only minimal danger of the Thunder losing tonight, even without Durant.

The bigger loss is for New York fans, who won’t get to see Durant as they dream about the Knicks’ Durant-friendly coaching staff luring him to the Big Apple as a free agent in 2016.