Knicks' Carmelo Anthony rising to score another basket against Orlando.
He also had six assists, a steal and a blocked shot.
NEW YORK: Amare Stoudemire was already a
Knicks star when Carmelo Anthony came to the team last year. A season
later, while Anthony was sidelined with injury, Jeremy Lin became a
But for at least a few games this week, the Knicks have been something they have never been in a tangible way: Carmelo's team.
With Stoudemire recovering from a bulging disc
in his back, and Lin and Jared Jeffries nursing knee injuries, the
Knicks have turned to Anthony, putting the ball and their late-season
play-off hopes in his hands. And for the second successive game, he
On Wednesday at Madison Square
Garden, he scored 25 points in just over 26 minutes as the Knicks routed
the Orlando Magic 108-86, and increased their lead to 21/2 games over
Milwaukee for the final play-off spot in the Eastern Conference.
'The ball was going in for me tonight,' Anthony said afterwards, declining to reflect too much on his performance.
'I started to get a little rhythm out there.
Why not enjoy these games? This season has been rocky with a lot going
on. A lot has happened. But the play-offs are coming, and these are the
His 11-point outburst early in the third
quarter fuelled a run of 21 unanswered Knicks points. But statistics do
not adequately detail his offensive dominance. In the first half, he
carved up the Magic's defence with deft inside moves.
In the second half, Anthony, who had 28 points
in the Knicks' victory against Milwaukee on Monday, devastated the
Magic from the outside. He also had six assists, a steal and a blocked
Anthony, who is playing despite a groin
injury, has suffered through an uneven season, often seeming unsure of
his role - passing when he should shoot and shooting when he should
pass. It seemed he rarely scored at pivotal moments in the Knicks'
victories, and shot poorly in defeats.
But with the team's injuries mounting, he has -
so far - found the right touch at all the right times. When asked if
Anthony had put the Knicks on his shoulders, coach Mike Woodson, who is
now 8-1 leading the team, said:
'Well, he did. The last two games I've tried to utilise him in that way. I'm still learning about this team, too.'
Anthony was not the only Knicks star. Iman
Shumpert had a career-high 25 points, although he credited Anthony's
play as essential to his scoring.
'They're double-teaming him, and since I
haven't been shooting it that well, I know that means I'm going to be
left open,' Shumpert said. 'That's the way it was tonight. I've told
myself that I have to step into those shots with confidence.'
Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard combined for 29 points for Orlando, who lost for the first time in four games.