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Anthony scores 25 as Knicks beat Nets

New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, right, shakes hands

New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, right, shakes hands with entertainer Jay-Z after the Knicks defeated the New Jersey Nets, 116-93. (April 8, 2011) Credit: AP

NEWARK -- Turns out that Carmelo Anthony didn't need to be traded to the Nets to feel as though he were playing a home game at Prudential Center.

An arena filled with Knicks fans -- many of whom were sporting Anthony No. 7 jerseys -- seemed to cheer Anthony's every move Friday night as he scored 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Knicks to a 116-93 win over the Nets.

"I'm not used to being cheered on the road," Anthony said. "It was great."

The victory was the Knicks' sixth in a row. They remained in sixth place in the East, a half-game ahead of Philadelphia. It guaranteed that the Knicks (41-38) will have their first non-losing season since 2000-01, when they went 48-34.

Each team was missing an All-Star player. The Nets were without point guard Deron Williams, who is scheduled for wrist surgery Monday and is out for the rest of the season. The Knicks were without Amar'e Stoudemire, who watched from the bench wearing a protective boot. Stoudemire sprained his left ankle in the Knicks' win over the 76ers on Wednesday.

That left all eyes on Anthony, who was traded from Denver to the Knicks on Feb. 21 along with point guard Chauncey Billups. Before the trade, it seemed very likely that Anthony would end up in New Jersey instead of Madison Square Garden. The Nets initially had a package on the table that the Nuggets liked better, but it stalled when Anthony wouldn't guarantee that he would re-sign with New Jersey.

Before Friday's game, Anthony indicated that he very well could have ended up playing for the Nets, which some saw as an admission that he ultimately would have signed a contract extension with them.

"When I was going through the whole situation, there was a time I thought I would end up in New Jersey, but I didn't," he said, adding that he has "no regrets" about how things turned out.

How things have turned out is that Anthony and the Knicks are getting ready for the playoffs and the Nets again are getting ready for the lottery. When they weren't able to land Anthony, the Nets dealt for Williams. But with Williams out, coach Avery Johnson seemed to know his team didn't have much of a chance.

"We clearly know where we are with this team," Johnson said. "Deron is definitely driving the car, and when he's not driving, we're a different team."

The Nets were led by Brook Lopez's 27 points.

Billups had 22 points in 26 minutes. All told, five Knicks finished in double figures, with Toney Douglas, Bill Walker and Shawne Williams scoring 10 points each.

"We had a lot of guys contributing," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said.

The biggest contribution came from Anthony, who is averaging 31.1 points in his last seven games. The Knicks are 13-12 since the trade, with Anthony averaging 26.2 points in the 25 games. He said his team is feeling good about the way it is playing as it heads into the playoffs.

Said Anthony: "I think we are communicating a lot more. It seems like everyone is on the same page right now."

New York Sports