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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Knicks win with Lin, Stoudemire out


NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony was aware of the standings and the injury report.

News photo
Narrow opening: New York's Carmelo Anthony drives baseline on Milwaukee's Luc Richard Mbah a Moute in the first half on Monday night. The Knicks downed the Bucks 89-80. AP

With Amare Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin out and Milwaukee in town, the New York Knicks couldn't afford more of the mediocre Melo.

"Tonight it was a game we had to win," Anthony said. "And I wanted to do everything in my power to do it."

Anthony scored 28 points, delivering his highest total in two months without the injured Stoudemire and Lin, and New York beat the Bucks 89-80 on Monday night to increase their lead for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth.

Shortly after learning Stoudemire was lost indefinitely with a bulging disk in his back, the Knicks opened a 2½-game lead over Milwaukee and prevented the Bucks from winning the season series and clinching the tiebreaker if they finish with the same record.

Anthony, long one of the NBA's elite scorers, hadn't even reached 20 points in his last seven games. New York won six of them, with Stoudemire leading the team in scoring over the last four.

But with Stoudemire and Lin gone, the Knicks were missing about 32 points per game, and even with its stronger defensive play, some of that had to be replaced.

"I've just got to step my game up," Anthony said. "We've been winning. As far as scoring the basketball, we really haven't been needing that. It's been pretty much spread out but now with them two guys, there ain't no telling what's the situation with them. So it's just time for me to step my game up in all aspects."

Baron Davis scored 13 points but shot 3-for-12 with nine turnovers in his first start in place of Lin, who has a sore right knee. Tyson Chandler also had 13 and Iman Shumpert 11 as New York overcame the absences of its second- and third-leading scorers.

But they won this one with defense, limiting the Bucks to 36.5 percent shooting and containing high-scoring guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. Jennings shot 6 of 22 for 15 points, and Ellis made only two of 14 shots for four points.

Mike Dunleavy scored 26 points for Milwaukee, but missed all three shots in a scoreless fourth quarter after he was 10 of 11 through three.

"We just tried to keep them as uncomfortable as possible and the rest is just the basketball gods telling them they're not going to make shots today," Shumpert said.

Pacers 105, Heat 90

In Indianapolis, Danny Granger scored 25 points to help the Pacers beat Miami.

Darren Collison added 20 points, and Paul George had 16 points and 10 rebounds for Indiana, which has won four of five and finally got the signature win it has sought since the All-Star break.

LeBron James had 24 points and nine rebounds, and Dwyane Wade had 24 points and six assists for the Heat.

Nuggets 108, Bulls 91

In Chicago, Ty Lawson tied a season high with 27 points, Arron Afflalo added 22 and Denver shot 50 percent to beat the Bulls.

The Nuggets, playing their third game in four nights as part of a seven-game road swing, got their first win three games into the trip.

Al Harrington added 17 points and Andre Miller chipped in with 12 points and 10 assists for Denver, which was scrapping for a playoff spot in the West.

C.J. Watson and John Lucas III scored 17 points each for the Bulls.

Celtics 102, Bobcats 95

In Charlotte, Paul Pierce scored a season-high 36 points and Boston moved into a first-place tie with Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division.

Pierce shot 10 of 20 from the field, made 15 of 18 free throws and added 10 rebounds and four assists.

Kevin Garnett added 24 points for the Celtics.

Gerald Henderson had 21 points for the Bobcats (7-40).

Jazz 105, Nets 84

In Newark, New Jersey, Paul Millsap had 24 points and 13 rebounds and Utah shook off the weariness from its four-overtime loss 24 hours earlier.

Gerald Green led the Nets with 20 points.

Pistons 79, Wizards 77

In Washington, Rodney Stuckey scored half of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, including the winning 6-meter jumper with 0.2 seconds left, and Detroit ended a five-game losing streak by erasing a 13-point deficit.

The Pistons managed to win despite being held below 80 points for the third game in a row; that last happened to the Pistons in December 2003.

Jordan Crawford led the Wizards with 20 points, and John Wall had 14 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.

Magic 117, Raptors 101

In Toronto, Ryan Anderson made a career-best eight 3-pointers and finished with 28 points.

Dwight Howard had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Jameer Nelson scored 18 points for Orlando.

The Magic made 17 3-pointers twice this season, first at New York on Jan. 16 and also against Miami on Feb. 8.

Rockets 113, Kings 106 (OT)

In Houston, Patrick Patterson scored a career-high 24 points and Earl Boykins hit four free throws for the hosts late in overtime to lead the Rockets to a win over Sacramento.

Boykins, who was signed by the Rockets earlier in the day, finished with 10 points in his first action of the season.

Houston built a 107-102 lead in overtime behind four points from Chandler Parsons.

Clippers 97, Hornets 85

In Los Angeles, Chris Paul had 25 points and 10 assists against his former team, leading the Clippers to a win over New Orleans.

Blake Griffin added 20 points and seven rebounds to help Los Angeles climb within two games of the Pacific Division-leading Lakers.

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