On a night the New York Knicks paid tribute to their championship history, white-hot Carmelo Anthony made some history of his own.
Anthony scored 41 points Friday night to tie a franchise record with his third straight 40-point game as the host Knicks rolled to their 11th consecutive win, a 101-83 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
JR Smith added 30 points and 10 rebounds for the Knicks, who honored their 1972-73 NBA championship team with a halftime ceremony. Hall of Famers such as Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, Jerry Lucas, Bill Bradley and Phil Jackson were on hand.
“It’s been a special evening having all those guys come back. I was like a kid in a candy store,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “Those guys basically set the foundation for where we stand today.”
Right now, the Knicks ((49-26 stand as the NBA’s hottest team. They have not lost since March 17 and are on the verge of their first Atlantic Division title since 1994.
And Anthony is the league’s hottest player. After scoring 50 points at Miami on Tuesday and 40 at Atlanta on Wednesday, the superstar forward made 17 of 28 shots and grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds.
“He’s trying to do a little bit of everything,” Woodson said. “That’s what the great ones do. They figure out a way to beat you.”
Anthony matched the team record for consecutive 40-point games set by Bernard King from November 21-24, 1984. He can break it in today’s nationally televised game at Oklahoma City.
“Melo is playing out of his mind,” Bucks guard Brandon Jennings said. “It is unreal.”
The Knicks trailed 45-36 at the break but may have been inspired by the halftime ceremony as they scored 42 points in the pivotal third quarter. Anthony erupted for 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting.
“We were playing horrible in the first half. We were so sluggish,” Anthony said. “[But] we came out in that third quarter blazing.”
Anthony scored 10 points and Smith made two three-pointers in a 16-0 burst that gave the Knicks a 64-57 lead. Raymond Felton made a three-pointer and Smith sank two more before Jason Kidd beat the buzzer with a 60-footer for a 78-66 bulge.
“That was a big third quarter for us,” Kidd said. “Everything was going in.”
The Bucks closed to 87-81 with 4:39 left on a three-pointer by JJ Redick, who scored 18 points. But Anthony sealed the win with three straight jumpers and a three-pointer for his league-leading eighth 40-point game.
“He’s playing great basketball and I feel like he’s showing that he’s the MVP,” Felton said.
Jennings scored 25 points for the Bucks ((36-39, who remained two and a half games behind seventh-place Boston in the Eastern Conference.
Los Angeles Lakers 86, Memphis Grizzlies 84: Kobe Bryant scored 24 points for the host Lakers, who ended the Grizzlies’ four-game winning streak and remained one-half game ahead of Utah for the West’s final playoff spot.
Utah Jazz 95, New Orleans Hornets 83: Gordon Hayward scored 23 points for the host Jazz, who have won six of seven and hold the tiebreaker over the Lakers.
Dallas Mavericks 117, Sacramento Kings 108: Shawn Marion had 25 points and 12 rebounds as the visiting Mavericks stayed three games behind eighth-place Los Angeles.
Oklahoma City Thunder 97, Indiana Pacers 75: The visiting Thunder tied San Antonio for the West’s best record as Kevin Durant scored 34 points. The Pacers had a five-game winning streak stopped.
Miami Heat 89, Charlotte Bobcats 79: Mike Miller scored a season-high 26 points for the visiting Heat, who played without LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen.
Golden State Warriors 111, Phoenix Suns 107: Stephen Curry had 18 points and a career-high 15 assists as the Warriors handed the host Suns their eighth straight loss.
Houston Rockets 116, Portland Trail Blazers 98: James Harden scored 33 points as the visiting Rockets won their fourth in a row and dealt the Blazers their seventh straight setback.
Cleveland Cavaliers 97, Boston Celtics 91: The visiting Cavaliers ended a 10-game slide as Tristan Thompson had career highs of 29 points and 17 rebounds.
Chicago Bulls 87, Orlando Magic 86: British national Luol Deng scored 19 points for the host Bulls, who held on while going scoreless for the final three and a half minutes.
Toronto Raptors 95, Minnesota Timberwolves 93: Minnesota coach Rick Adelman was denied his 1,000th career win as Rudy Gay scored 26 points for the visiting Raptors.
Philadelphia 76ers 101, Atlanta Hawks 90: Evan Turner had 24 points and 11 boards for the visiting 76ers, who have won four of five.
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