Carmelo Anthony sets mark as Knicks pull away from Magic
Carmelo Anthony broke a Knicks' record that stood for more than 50 years on a night when he didn't even lead his team in scoring.
Tyson Chandler paced the Knicks for the first time this season and Amar'e Stoudemire shot 7-for-7 from the field as the vaunted frontcourt showed what it's capable of in a 113-97 win over the Magic Wednesday night.
Anthony finished with 20, just enough to supplant Richie Guerin in Knicks' lore. It was the 30th consecutive game Anthony scored at least 20 points. Guerin held the mark of 29 since the 1961-62 season.
"He's an MVP candidate," Mike Woodson said. "I don't care how you slice it. He's put himself in that category based on how he's played and gotten guys around him to play at a high level. That's what the great ones do."
Anthony finished 8-for-17 from the field and 2-for-2 from the line. He set the record with a three-pointer with 6:10 left in the game. They were Anthony's last points. Mike Woodson removed Anthony with 3:51 left and the Knicks (28-15) ahead by 18 points. Anthony also had seven rebounds and five assists.
"It makes it fun out there when you know you're looking forward to something, when you know you have a chance to break a record," Anthony said.
Chandler had a strong all-around game as he shot 10-for-11, pulled down seven rebounds and had five assists. This came after Woodson called him into his office to tell the Defensive Player of the Year he needed him to be more aggressive offensively.
Chandler said Woodson was only the second coach in his 12-year career to do that. The other was Byron Scott. Chandler responded Wednesday night, showing no side effects of a strained neck that hampered him in Sunday's game against the Hawks.
Stoudemire continues to improve offensively and is becoming the second scorer the Knicks (28-15) need alongside Anthony if they're going to make a deep playoff run. Stoudemire scored 14 points and had two blocks in 21 minutes off the bench.
In each game, Stoudemire is showing some of the post moves he worked on with Hakeem Olajuwon during the summer. Stoudemire is becoming more effective down there and giving the Knicks another dimension, and he's playing well with Anthony and Chandler. Most impressive is the professional way Stoudemire has embraced his role as a reserve.
"It's in my DNA," Stoudemire said. "I'm willing to do whatever it takes to win. I've accomplished a lot in my career so far. The next thing to accomplish is to win a championship, and whatever that takes, whatever role I need to step into, I'm totally open to it as long as we win. I'm looking forward to winning a championship."
Orlando came into the game without leading scorer Aaron Afflalo and it lost another starter a little more than four minutes into the game when power forward Glen Davis broke his left foot.
The Magic's starting backcourt of Nelson and Redick scored 26 of Orlando's first 28 points. The Knicks yielded 31 first-quarter points, but the Magic didn't defend much better. The Knicks also scored 31 points.
The Knicks had their hands full with the Magic for about 21/2 quarters. But they took a lead with 7:04 left in the third and never relinquished it. They opened the game in the fourth with a 23-11 run and shot 57.3 percent from the field overall.
"I though our pace was a lot better offensively," Woodson said. "We still have a ways to go defensively."