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Knicks defeat Lakers for second straight win

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Forward Carmelo Anthony didn't turn in a virtuoso performance this time, but he still gave the New York Knicks enough to stave off the Los Angeles Lakers 110-103 Sunday.

Anthony, who tallied a Knicks-record 62 points in the team's Friday night win over the Charlotte Bobcats, registered a game-high 35 points in Sunday's matinee. Anthony shot 14-for-31 against Los Angeles while also grabbing four rebounds. And unlike the Charlotte game, Anthony also got into the assist column with five helpers.

Four other Knicks scored in double digits. Point guard Raymond Felton had 20 points and five assists. Center Tyson Chandler added 13 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, while reserve guards J.R. Smith and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. chipped in with 16 and 18 points, respectively.

Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said offensive balance has always been his vision for this team and hopes that the last two games are indicators that his squad isn't so Anthony-dependent.

"I've always wanted a team that the (opposing) defense doesn't know where the points are coming from," said Woodson, who added he's been stressing ball movement and extra passing in recent practices. "When he (Anthony) has been doubled, he looks for other guys. They just have to step up and make those open shots. ... Lately they have."

Woodson firmly believes that if the Knicks are to finally get back into the Atlantic Division race, he'll need more than his All-Star forward to shoulder most of the load.

The coach specifically named Hardaway Jr. as being instrumental in helping New York (17-27) get back into the hunt.

"Tim isn't your ordinary rookie. He's a bit ahead of the game," Woodson said of the first-year shooting guard, mentioning the rookie's work with his father, Tim, who was once a star in the league.

Woodson then immediately mentioned that the lanky rookie can also do more than just score once he gets stronger and further understands the team's defensive nuances.

"Once he gets stronger, he'll be even better on defense," Woodson said, adding the defensive intensity as a whole will need to sustain. "Our defense has gotten better, much better. We saw that tonight with better ‘D' in the fourth quarter. ... That's when you need it to carry you home and get wins. We need to continue to get better and continue to execute like we have."

New York (17-27) earned its second win in a row immediately following a five-game losing streak.

The Lakers (16-29) received a team-high 24 points from guard Jodie Meeks, who shot 8-for-13 overall and 6-for-8 from 3-point range. He exploded for 16 points -- and four 3-pointers -- in the third quarter. Center Pau Gasol contributed 20 points, 13 rebounds and four assists.

Los Angeles also received an unlikely contribution from reserve guard Manny Harris, who tallied 18 points. Harris is in the midst of his second 10-day contract, but he made a case for sticking around longer by shooting 6-for-9 in 19 minutes of action.

It was a nice contribution from an unlikely source, but overall, Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni said he was dismayed at the way his team ran out of gas in the fourth quarter.

"There were a lot of factors (in their sluggish play). A lot of little things," admitted D'Antoni, who was making his second return to the Garden as the Lakers' lead man. "Obviously a little tiredness may have come in, but sometimes the ball bounces that way. ... We'll keep concentrating on trying to get better defensively, too."

The Knicks held a slim 51-47 halftime lead as Anthony led the way with 20 points in the first half.

Gasol scored 12 first-half points on 6-of-9 shooting.

Los Angeles took a 25-22 lead after the first quarter on the strength of eight points from Gasol. Anthony began to heat up late in the second stanza to take the lead heading into the break.

Felton and Smith had nine points apiece for New York in the first half.

NOTES: Both teams entered the game ranked among the league leaders in 3-point attempts (26 per game each), and Sunday was no different. The Lakers took 23 shots from long range, and the Knicks made 26 attempts from behind the arc. Each team sank 11 3-pointers. ... The Lakers posted a 39-30 advantage on points in the paint and an 11-2 edge in fast-break points. ... The Lakers went on a 9-0 run to close out the first quarter. ... Los Angeles entered the game allowing 106 points per game, which ranked 29th in the league.
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