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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Floundering Knicks' losing streak hits five


NEW YORK — Lou Williams did more than take over the game in the third quarter. He took whatever spirit the sagging New York Knicks had left.

News photo
Down and out: Knicks guard Jeremy Lin (bottom) fights for a loose ball against the Sixers' Jrue Holiday (left) as Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (rear, right) and Sixers guard Evan Turner watch on Sunday at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Sixers won 106-94. AP

The good feelings created last month by Jeremy Lin's emergence — along with Lin's best play — seem long gone now.

"When we get down, it just seems like our whole energy just goes out the door," Carmelo Anthony said.

Williams scored 12 of his 28 points in a dazzling flurry, Evan Turner had 24 points and 15 rebounds, and the Philadelphia 76ers handed the Knicks their fifth straight loss with a 106-94 victory Sunday.

Williams tossed in a long jumper to beat the halftime buzzer, then had a dozen points in the final 3:28 of the third quarter, when the 76ers seized control for their third straight victory.

"I was just able to get some good looks," Williams said. "In the third quarter, played with a ton of confidence and felt like I could make any shots."

Andre Iguodala had 19 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for the 76ers, who turned a competitive game into a rout to end a three-game losing streak to the Knicks.

Anthony scored 22 points but didn't make a field goal over the final three quarters, while Lin shot just 5 of 18 for 14 points with seven assists and six turnovers. Tyson Chandler had eight points and 12 rebounds after missing two games with a strained left hamstring, but he couldn't solve the Knicks' defensive woes.

Philadelphia was up by eight late in the third quarter before Williams took over. He made two 3-pointers, a pair of jumpers and two free throws as the 76ers outscored the Knicks 16-8 to open an 89-73 lead.

"Third quarter, I guess, you know they hit a lot of shots, we were a step slow on defense and I didn't take care of the ball," Lin said. "So they get easy run-outs in transition and then we didn't box out the way we should have, so more easy baskets and they get into a flow, they get into a rhythm."

The Knicks might have hoped to catch the Atlantic Division leaders at one point but now are simply hoping to hold onto a playoff spot after entering play just two games ahead of Milwaukee and Cleveland.

They dropped all four games on their road trip and looked particularly lost without Chandler, their defensive anchor. They yielded 118 points in a loss at San Antonio and surrendered 119 on Friday against Milwaukee, and now travel to powerful Chicago on Monday.

"Yeah, it's definitely not easy," said Amare Stoudemire, who scored just nine points and sat alongside Anthony for the entire fourth quarter. "Tough game in Chicago. A lot of games within this month against tough, competitive teams. So it's up to us as players to want to do better out there."

Lakers 97, Celtics 94

In Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant scored 10 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and hit a go-ahead jumper with 41.7 seconds to play.

Cavaliers 118, Rockets 107

In Cleveland, Antawn Jamison scored 28 points and rookie Kyrie Irving came through again in the fourth quarter, leading the Cavaliers past Houston.

Bucks 105, Raptors 99

In Toronto, Ersan Ilyasova had 31 points and 12 rebounds, Drew Gooden added 21 points and short-handed Milwaukee beat the Raptors for the sixth consecutive time.

Magic 107, Pacers 94

In Orlando, Dwight Howard had 30 points and 13 rebounds, and J.J. Redick added 18 points and a career-high nine assists as the Magic ran past Indiana.

Grizzlies 94, Nuggets 91

In Denver, O.J. Mayo scored 22 points, including a critical 3-pointer in the closing seconds and the Grizzlies hung on to beat the Nuggets to sweep the three-game regular-season series for the first time in their history.

Warriors 97, Clippers 93

In Los Angeles, Dorell Wright scored 18 of his 20 points in the first half, Monta Ellis added 19 points and 11 assists, and the Warriors knocked the Clippers out of first place in the Pacific Division.

Hawks 106, Kings 99

In Sacramento, Josh Smith scored 19 of his 28 points in the second half for Atlanta, which defeated the Kings for the eighth straight time.

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