x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

New York Knicks triumph despite no Jeremy Lin

Lin missed the win over the Orlando Magic with a sore knee as Carmelo Anthony takes centre stage.

Carmelo Anthony, centre, was the New York Knicks hero as he stands with the injured Jeremy Lin, right.
Carmelo Anthony, centre, was the New York Knicks hero as he stands with the injured Jeremy Lin, right.

Carmelo Anthony knocked down three long jumpers, finding a rhythm that's been missing most of the season.

Then the Knicks really got rolling - on their biggest run in eight and a half years in the NBA.

Anthony and the Knicks climbed above .500 for the first time since mid-January in overwhelming fashion, scoring 21 straight points in the third quarter and routing the Orlando Magic 108-86 on Wednesday night.

Anthony and Iman Shumpert each scored 25 points for the Knicks (26-25), who won for the eighth time in nine games despite playing without the injured Amare Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin.

Lin was sidelined by an injured knee but is hopeful of being fit for the weekend's action.

New York outscored Orlando 65-30 in the middle two quarters and has a winning record for the first time since it was 6-5 before a loss to Oklahoma City on January 14.

"I said this at the top, as a coach I'm always interested in when you're short-handed who's going to step up and make plays? And we're getting it from everybody and that to me is a sign of a good, quality team that wants to win," interim coach Mike Woodson said.

The Knicks moved two and a half games ahead of Milwaukee for the eighth and final play-off spot in the Eastern Conference and pulled within two and a half of Philadelphia and Boston for first place in the Atlantic Division.

New York could get Stoudemire back before the end of the season, announcing Wednesday that he could be back in two to four weeks after non-surgical treatment for a bulging disk in his back.

Anthony knows he must step up until then without Stoudemire and Lin, and he had his second straight strong performance since they were hurt. Anthony scored 28 points Monday, and would have easily surpassed that had he not been limited to 26 minutes.

Playing despite a strained right groin, Anthony shot nine of 15, his jumper that has been off all season falling in a third-quarter flurry that blew open the game.

Anthony said it has been a rocky season, which includes his own struggles with injuries and his shot, the resignation of coach Mike D'Antoni, and now the injuries to the Knicks' second and third-leading scorers.

But they sure seemed as if they had it all figured out in the third quarter, when they had their longest consecutive run of points since a franchise-record 24 in a row against Indiana on November 15, 2003.

"Right now, with the coaching change, we've been playing extremely well," Anthony said. "Guys seem to be responding pretty well. We've been really locked in on our mission right now."