Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks: A+
If you were looking for an encore to Carmelo Anthony's recent hot streak, that's exactly what you received. When he wasn't hitting shots in Kevin Durant's face, 'Melo was rising up over someone else to swish a contested J.
Believe it or not, his first 31 points came without a single free-throw attempt.
For the game, 'Melo finished with 36 points on 15-of-29 shooting from the floor. He consistently made shots in Durant's face, overcoming powerful defensive pressure to provide a scoring punch —which was something New York needed as OKC dropped 120 points.
'Melo's hot shooting came along the perimeter, but his greatest contributions came along the interior. He grabbed nine offensive rebounds and made two key tip-ins to secure this victory.
Scoring 36 points with 12 rebounds (nine offensive) and one block screams elite.
Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder: B
Serge Ibaka had difficult matchups throughout the duration of this game, from Carmelo Anthony to Chris Copeland to Tyson Chandler. Regardless of who he was faced with, Ibaka did all he could to make the most of his opportunities.
Ibaka finished with 13 points, six rebounds and five blocks.
Ibaka's major gaffs came in his inability to protect the rim, as 'Melo grabbed nine offensive rebounds. Most of those boards came over Ibaka, which is detrimental to his overall grade.
With that being said, the blocking guru did make a difference defensively—five times, to be exact.
Unfortunately for Ibaka, this was an offensive-minded game that saw the two teams combine for 245 points. With that in mind, his defensive plays were minimal in impact.
Dropping 13 points, including a three-point field goal, certainly helps. His work on the glass does not.