"We can't underestimate anybody," forward Carmelo Anthony said
after the Knicks bounced back to defeat the Kings 107-99. "We got to
come out to play. A team like (the struggling Lakers) and what we're
trying to accomplish and what we're trying to do, there's no way we
can get there by playing the way we did yesterday."
Anthony scored 36 points against Sacramento, guard J.R. Smith added
29 thanks to a franchise-record-tying nine 3-pointers, and Knicks
continued their playoff push with a much-need victory.
New York (30-42) pulled within two games of Atlanta for the eighth
and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks suffered
a 107-83 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.
"We're fighting," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "We built a big
lead again tonight, and then they made a hell of a run. We withstood
it by making plays coming down the stretch and making defensive
stops. J.R. was big tonight. ... It was a total team effort, and
we're going to need that the rest of the way."
The Knicks snapped a two-game losing streak one night after allowing
a franchise-record 51 points in a quarter — a nightmare third — against the Lakers.
"It wasn't like we didn't come out ready to play last night,"
Woodson said. "I don't know if I've ever seen a second and third
quarter like we played. You give up 51 points in a quarter and you
score 31, that's old-school basketball, that's crazy. But we bounced
"That's the fun part about this game. One day you're down and the
next day you're back on your feet. We just got to build on this game
and get ready for Phoenix (on Friday)."
Forward Amar'e Stoudemire had 12 points and center Tyson Chandler 10
for the Knicks, who won for the ninth time in 11 games.
Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins scored 32 points and grabbed 15
rebounds, extending his streak of double-doubles to 16. He also had
a team-high eight assists.
Guard Ben McLemore contributed 16 points, while forward Travis
Outlaw scored 15 off the bench for Sacramento (25-46). Forward Rudy
Gay added 14 points.
Anthony made 12 of 21 shots from the field and five of eight 3-point
attempts. Smith shot 10-for-19 from the field and 9-for-12 from long
"It's tough when you live and die with that," Gay said of the
Knicks' 3-point shooting. "Some days you're going to be hot. They
were hot. The last game they weren't. Today they were hot. J.R. hit
nine 3s. Melo hit five. They were just on fire. That's basketball
for you. That's the NBA."
The Kings played without injured starting point guard Isaiah Thomas,
who is averaging 20.7 points per game. Rookie Ray McCallum made his
first career start, and he went scoreless in the first half but
finished with 10 points, six rebounds, five assists and four
[to top of second column]
"All the guys helped me out a lot tonight multiple times," McCallum
said. "They were pulling me aside all night. DeMarcus was saying,
'We need you Ray, lock in. We need you,' so that helped."
The Knicks led by as many as 24 points in the third quarter and took
an 86-72 lead into the fourth. However, the Kings opened the final
period with an 8-0 run, cutting their deficit to 86-80 with 9:36
Smith ended that run with a 3-point shot, and after the Kings pulled
to within four points, he drilled another shot from long range,
making it 94-87 with under seven minutes left.
Cousins cut the Knicks' lead to 96-94 on a three-point play with
4:30 left, but Smith answered with yet another 3-point basket,
making it 99-94 with just over four minutes remaining. Stoudemire
increased the Knicks' lead to 101-94 with a dunk.
"That was big-time," Anthony said of Smith's game. "He stepped up
and knocked down shots. Just his overall game tonight really kind of
put us over the top. Got us out to an early start. He continued
throughout the whole game to play like that."
The Knicks owned a 31-28 lead after the first quarter as Smith
scored 14 points, shooting 5-for-6 from the floor and 4-for-4 from
long range. New York outscored the Kings 32-20 in the second
quarter, extending its lead to 63-48 by halftime.
NOTES: Kings starting PG Isaiah Thomas missed the game with a right
quad contusion he suffered Sunday against the Milwaukee Bucks. "He
really tried to get back," Sacramento coach Michael Malone said
before the game. "He wants to play in the worst way, but that's a
real deep thigh bruise." ... Sacramento F Quincy Acy (sprained right
ankle) suited up after being inactive the previous two games but did
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