Former Los Angeles Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson (left) waits with film director Spike Lee before the New York Knicks honoured their 1972 NBA Championship team during ceremonies celebrating the 40th anniversary of their triumph, at halftime in the Knicks’ win over the Milwaukee Bucks in their NBA game at Madison Square Garden in New York yesterday. RIGHT: Memphis Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol of Spain (left) is boxed out by Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol of Spain during second half action of their NBA game in Los Angeles, California, yesterday. The Lakers beat the Grizzlies.
NEW YORK: The New York Knicks rode the hot hand of Carmelo Anthony to their 11th straight NBA victory yesterday, downing the Milwaukee Bucks 101-83 at Madison Square Garden.
Anthony recorded his third straight game of 40 or more points following up a 50-point outing against Miami and a 40-point game at Atlanta, Anthony scored 41 points against the Bucks, connecting on 17-of-28 shots from the floor.
He scored 18 points in the third quarter, when the Knicks shot a blistering 79 percent from the field and outscored the Bucks 42-21.
Anthony added a game-high 14 rebounds for good measure.
JR Smith was tremendous for the Knicks as well, contributing 30 points off the bench and grabbing 10 rebounds for a Knicks team that hasn’t lost since a 93-80 defeat at the Los Angeles Clippers on March 17.
The Knicks’ performance came on a night when the team honored their 1972-73 championship, and some members of that squad were there to cheer the current Knicks on. Anthony is now neck-and-neck with Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant for the NBA scoring title and the two will go head-to-head today.
“It’s that time of the season where we just have to pick it up,” Anthony aid.
Brandon Jennings led the slumping Bucks with 25 points, but Milwaukee lost for the seventh time in nine game.
In Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant had 24 points and nine assists, Pau Gasol added 19 points, and the Lakers stayed in the final play-off position in the Western Conference with an 86-84 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies yesterday. “This is the big push for us,’’ Bryant said. ‘’We’ve got a very tough stretch, and we’re excited. You want to be going into the playoffs feeling like you’re playing good ball against tough opposition. It’s been a lot of figuring out we had to do, but it’s better late than never.’’
Dwight Howard had nine points and 10 rebounds, while Earl Clark and Antawn Jamison contributed 13 points apiece off the bench as the Lakers won without injured starters Steve Nash and Metta World Peace.
Los Angeles also avoided getting swept in its season series with the Grizzlies, whose four-game winning streak ended.
But it wasn’t over until Mike Conley, who scored 21 points in a stellar performance, missed a potential go-ahead jumper with 5 seconds left and another layup before the buzzer. The playoff-bound Grizzlies couldn’t score in the final 2 1/2 minutes, and they gave some of the credit to the Lakers’ desperate defence.
‘’We just didn’t get a loose ball or rebound that we needed in the whole game, especially late in the fourth quarter,’’ Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said.
Memphis’ Marc Gasol had 11 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in a lively matchup with his brother. Zach Randolph added 15 points as the Grizzlies fell one game behind Denver for the fourth seed in the West.
Los Angeles’ tumultuous season will come down to the final two weeks, with the high-powered Lakers hoping just to reach the play-offs as the eighth seed. To make the postseason for the 16th time in Bryant’s 17 seasons, the Lakers must finish one game ahead of Utah, which kept pace with a 95-83 win over New Orleans earlier Friday night.
‘’I don’t want to be on the Laker team that didn’t make the playoffs,’’ said Clark who had a second straight standout game. ‘’I don’t want to be remembered that way, so I’m just coming out and giving it my all.’’ AGENCIES