NEW YORK — Langston Galloway and Lance Thomas are winning over fans and helping the Knicks win games.
Maybe this is the start of Lansanity.
Carmelo Anthony had 31 points and 10 rebounds, Thomas scored a season-high 17 points against his former team and New York beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 100-92 on Jan. 28.
Galloway added 18 points and his fearless shotmaking had Anthony recalling Jeremy Lin, another unheralded player who made a big impact during the brief run of Linsanity in 2012.
“Everybody loves the underdog story,” Anthony said.
Tim Hardaway Jr. hit three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, finishing with 14 for the Knicks, who won for the fourth time in five games, representing nearly half of their nine victories on the season.
“In this league everybody’s a professional, so I feel like if you bring it then you have a chance to beat anybody in the NBA,” Thomas said. “And with the effort we’re putting forward, we’re keeping ourselves in games.”
Russell Westbrook scored 40 points on 13-of-30 shooting for the Thunder, who were without Kevin Durant for a second straight game because of a sprained big toe on his left foot.
“I just had to play my game,” Westbrook said. “Tried to help us find a way to win the game. I didn’t do a good job of that.”
Westbrook blitzed the Knicks in his return from injury in November, leading the Thunder to a 27-point romp. But behind players such as Galloway and Thomas, who weren’t around then, the Knicks continued their best stretch of the season.
Thomas was originally acquired earlier this month from Oklahoma City as part of a three-team trade with Cleveland, then waived and later re-signed. He is on his second 10-day contract and making a good case to stick around, as Galloway will after signing for the remainder of the season on Tuesday.
“Lance plays hard. He plays every possession like it’s Game 7 of a championship series.” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “That’s why he’s in the league and that’s why he’s going to play another 10 years. When you have guys like that, you win.”
The Knicks had an 82-73 lead after Hardaway made consecutive 3-pointers, then fed Thomas for a basket. Westbrook scored seven straight to make it a two-point game, but Anthony had a pair of baskets before Hardaway nailed another 3 to cap a 10-0 spurt that extended it to 92-80.
Oklahoma City would get it down to 95-90 before Thomas knocked down a jumper with 46 seconds to play. The Thunder didn’t make another field goal.
Westbrook had stretches of brilliance, including a 3-pointer just before halftime where he essentially landed on top of Galloway, believing he was fouled.
But without Durant, the Thunder didn’t have nearly enough balance and fell to 23-23. Perry Jones, starting in the league MVP’s place, missed all five shots and was scoreless.
Jason Smith had 11 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for the Knicks.
(BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer)