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Knicks run win streak to seven with takedown of Pacers

Mar 20, 2014, 1:20 AM EDT

carmelo anthony paul george AP

NEW YORK – It’s only been one day since Phil Jackson was introduced as the new president of basketball operations in New York, and while Jackson will be tasked with building a winner moving forward, the Knicks have gotten a bit of a head start, doing just that for the past two weeks.

They continued the recent stretch of solid play by winning their seventh straight on Wednesday, 92-86 over the East’s best team in the Indiana Pacers.

Jackson was in attendance, of course, and received the expected standing ovation when he was announced to the Madison Square Garden crowd. But it was the Knicks who deserved the adoration.

Carmelo Anthony led the way with 34 points on 12-of-23 shooting, and was brilliant in one-on-one situations when matched up against Paul George, whose physical approach wasn’t allowed by the officials, and Anthony made sure to take advantage.

“Carmelo’s a physical offensive player,” Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said afterward. “Paul was getting the fouls and it put him on the bench. It’s just part of the game. Carmelo’s maybe the best scorer in the NBA so everybody’s just got to battle him, do his best, and make him take guarded shots. And for the most part we did that.”

George couldn’t contain Anthony, but struggled even more on the offensive end, finishing 4-of-17 from the field, with six of his 17 points coming in the game’s last 20 seconds after the outcome had already been decided.

“They tried to pack it in and give him threes, and I’d say probably seven or eight of them were open looks,” Vogel said. “Just a tough shooting night. If they’re going to give Paul George open threes, I’ll live with that.”

George is just 5-of-22 from beyond the arc combined over his last three games.

The Knicks, meanwhile, have been getting some much-needed help from Amar’e Stoudemire during this streak, and he was big once again in this one. Stoudemire finished with 21 points in 29 minutes, the eighth straight game that he’s appeared in where he’s finished in double figures.

New York will need its full complement of players to continue to play at a high level if the team is to keep its desperate playoff hopes alive. Even with the current winning streak, the Knicks remain four games back of the Hawks and four and a half behind the Bobcats for one of the two final playoff spots in the East.

Tyson Chandler is among the players beginning to believe, however, that the lofty goal is within reach.

“Not only that we can accomplish it, but that we can do something when we get in,” Chandler said, when asked what this particular win against an elite team may have shown. “I don’t really think there’s really a team that wants to see us in the first round.”

Anthony wasn’t quite ready to take things that far.

“As far as hope [for the playoffs] goes, we’ll see what happens,” Anthony said. “We know we control our own destiny. We don’t want to have to look at the teams that’s in front of us — although we have to, in our mindset we have to focus on what we have to focus on.”

The city is energized where the Knicks are concerned, and the winning streak combined with Jackson’s arrival have a palpable feeling around the team that things are indeed turning around. Anthony talked about wanting to build on that, and believes that the team can continue to respond.

“Hard times call for desperate measures,” he said. “Right now our backs are against the wall and we’re playing good basketball as a team. The teams that we play, we feel like they’re in our way. That’s our motto right now — they’re in our way, and we don’t want to let nothing stop that.”

  1. mackcarrington - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:25 AM

    I guess I underestimated the power of Jackson’s presence.
    It looks like the Knicks are going to win the championship after all.

    • zxrated - Mar 20, 2014 at 2:36 AM

      What power of Jackson? They have a seven game winning streak going which predates Phil. The momentum was already going and Indy has been struggling big time lately.

      • mackcarrington - Mar 20, 2014 at 4:12 AM

        It kind of takes the bite out of the sarcasm if you have to explain to someone it’s sarcasm.

      • asimonetti88 - Mar 20, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    • dyn0myte - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:37 PM

      I’m gonna call it the Phil Phactor…

  2. antistratfordian - Mar 20, 2014 at 5:16 AM

    PJ gives the Knicks and air of legitimacy. I can dig it.

  3. brugis23 - Mar 20, 2014 at 8:18 AM

    Well, here it goes…it’s called sarcasm, there!

  4. cantonbound13 - Mar 20, 2014 at 8:49 AM

    Looking a lot like the 1999 team

    • Kevin S. - Mar 20, 2014 at 9:28 PM

      You’re adorable.

  5. cruzan80 - Mar 20, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    Ever since last summer….I’ve said if you can guarantee me that Amare Stoudamire will be healthy for an entire season…I’ll say the Knicks are as good as anyone in the east…..but in that lies the problem…..Amare being healthy.

    I want to get excited about the Knicks & Amare’s play but honestly I’m expecting any day now for an update on my phone that goes something like this “Amare Stoudamire out 6-8 weeks with a minor knee procedure.”. Which really sucks because I love the guys heart & the fact that the minute he’s cleared he runs back on the court to give the team everything he’s got.

    Just as a basketball fan…I really hope he remains healthy & can help the Knicks make a run at the Playoffs & if they get in, actually do some damage. Let’s be honest…Knick fan or not…if you love NBA basketball…you want the Knicks playing the Pacers in the 1st round instead of the Hawks or Bobcats. It’s a star driven league & a Pacers/Knicks or Heat/Knicks 1st round match up would be some good drama right from the jump.

  6. phillysports1 - Mar 20, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    Evan Turner Andrew Bynum lavoy allen CURSE lol #

  7. ProBasketballPundit - Mar 20, 2014 at 5:18 PM

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! The Knicks could win 21 straight to finish the season and still have a terrible season. It brings a happy tear to my eye.

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