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Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010

Upstart Knicks earn eighth straight win

NEW YORK (AP) The roar at the beginning was for Carmelo Anthony. The booming chants at the end were for Amare Stoudemire.

News photo
Eyes wide open: Spurs center Tim Duncan shoots over Portland's Joel Przybilla on Sunday in San Antonio. AP PHOTO

Maybe the New York Knicks already have the only superstar they need.

"Sky's the limit," Stoudemire said. "It's just a matter of us continuing to improve."

Stoudemire scored 24 of his 30 points in the second half, Wilson Chandler made the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 30 seconds left, and the Knicks beat the Denver Nuggets 129-125 on Sunday for their first eight-game winning streak in 16 years.

Perhaps catching a break not to have been called for a second technical foul and ejected in the second quarter, Stoudemire set a franchise record with his eighth straight 30-point game. The more important streak for the Knicks is the winning one.

Winning for the 13th time in 14 games, the Knicks have won eight straight for the first time since Dec. 27, 1994-Jan. 13, 1995. At 16-9, they are off to their best start after 25 games since they were 18-7 in 1996-97.

Next up: showdowns with Boston on Wednesday and Miami on Friday as the Knicks try to show they can compete with the NBA's elite.

The Knicks seemed to be going nowhere when a 120-118 loss in Denver on Nov. 16 dropped them to 3-8. But they have lost just once since thanks mostly to Stoudemire, awarded with "MVP! MVP!" chants against in the final minute.

"When we played them in Denver the first time, they look like a totally different team right now," Anthony said. "They've got a lot of rhythm going out there, seemed like everybody's on the same page, everybody's doing their part out there and they're rolling right now."

With most of the crowd at Madison Square Garden standing and chanting for the final minutes, Raymond Felton made four free throws in the final 15.6 seconds.

Chandler scored 27 points, and Felton had 19 points and a season-high 17 assists. Rookie Landry Fields scored 18 points and Danilo Gallinari had 16 for the Knicks.

Anthony had 31 points and 13 rebounds in his return to the lineup after missing two games with an inflamed right knee. Nene added 26 points but the Nuggets finished 1-3 on their road trip, with the only victory coming in George Karl's 1,000th coaching win Friday at Toronto.

D'Antoni said the victory showed him "a lot."

"Being able to throw punches and get it. Being able to go down after being up the whole game. Having Amare in foul trouble and finding a way. You have to be able to find a win to win until you get everything straight," he said. "That is what these guys have been doing for a while."

Magic 94, Clippers 85

In Los Angeles, Dwight Howard scored 22 points to help Orlando snap skids of four games overall and three straight on the road.

Jameer Nelson added 17 points, Vince Carter 13, and Brandon Bass had 13 points and a career high-tying 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.

Lakers 99, Nets 92

In Newark, N.J., Kobe Bryant scored 25 of his 32 points in the second half and had two big assists in a late 8-0 run that led Los Angeles to its eighth straight win over New Jersey.

Spurs 95, Trail Blazers 78

In San Antonio, George Hill scored 22 points as the Spurs won their fifth straight to become the NBA's first 20-game winner this season.

76ers 88, Hornets 70

In Philadelphia, Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams sparked a 17-2 run spanning the first and second quarters that catapulted Philadelphia to its fifth win in seven games.

Williams finished with 17 points, Elton Brand had 15 points and 13 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season, and Iguodala had 16 points and 10 assists.

Thunder 106, Cavaliers 77

In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant scored 25 points, and Jeff Green and James Harden added 19 apiece as Oklahoma City send Cleveland to its eighth straight loss.

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