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Melo, Shumpert shine but Knicks run out of gas

ATLANTA -- Carmelo Anthony's strained groin flared up, Tyson Chandler said his groin has been bothering him and Baron Davis had so much tape around his right leg, you could hardly see any of his skin.

The Knicks already are down two starters. They can't afford many more losses -- bodies or games. But they suffered one on the court Friday night, falling to the Hawks, 100-90, in Mike Woodson's return to Atlanta, where he coached for six years.

"I think we all really wanted to win this one for Coach," Chandler said. "For whatever reason, things just didn't go our way."

At this point, the Knicks should be relieved they got out of Atlanta with all of their walking wounded saying they will gut it out in Saturday night's game against the Cavaliers.

The Knicks (26-26) have 14 games left, and every one is important. This loss trimmed their lead over Milwaukee for the last playoff spot in the East to 1½ games.

"I've got to do what's best for the team at this point," said Davis, who has hamstring and calf issues. "If that means making the sacrifice and going out there, giving it all I can with what I have, then I have to do that. I just have to find ways to make adjustments."

The Knicks were without Jeremy Lin and Amar'e Stoudemire for the third straight game. There is a cloud of mystery around Lin's status. He's day-to-day with a sore left knee, but Woodson said before the game he doesn't know "if" Lin will return this season.

Woodson is focusing on whom he has. Because of Davis' condition, he said he probably will turn to Toney Douglas Saturday night and extend Mike Bibby's minutes.

Despite all of their health troubles, the Knicks fought back after spotting the Hawks a 15-point lead in a sluggish first half. But the Knicks didn't have enough, wasting a 36-point game from Anthony.

The closest the Knicks got was two with 8:56 left. But a hobbled Davis missed a potential tying layup and Atlanta ended the game on a 20-12 run, snapping the Knicks' winning streak at three games and dropping them to 8-2 under Woodson.

"We dug a hole and we kept grinding," Woodson said. "We put ourselves in position to go up. They got the spurt that they needed to secure the game."

Iman Shumpert scored 25 for the second consecutive game, but he and Anthony were the only Knicks in double figures. The rest of the team totaled 29 points and 11-for-32 shooting.

Joe Johnson scored 28 points and Josh Smith had 23 to lead the Hawks. Reserve guard Willie Green had 15 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, including 11 in the last 8:06.

Anthony, who had 19 points in the first half and finished with nine rebounds and five steals, put the Knicks on his back for most of the game. But after aggravating his groin injury in the fourth, he scored only five points in the quarter and shot 0-for-4 after his three-point play made it 80-78.

"It takes away my power, especially under the basket, my lift," Anthony said. "There really wasn't too much I could do."

Anthony was speaking for himself, but he could have been speaking of his injury-riddled team.

"We just got to get through it,'' he said. "There's really nothing we can do about it right now."

New York Sports