Anthony-led Knicks stay undefeated
By KYLE HIGHTOWER
ORLANDO, Fla. — In their first four games, the New York Knicks surprised many by consistently performing above preseason expectations and jumping out to an unbeaten start.
Another night and another victory later, the Knicks’ breakout beginning doesn’t seem to have an end in sight.
Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points, J. R. Smith and Raymond Felton each added 21, and the New York Knicks held off the Orlando Magic 99-89 Tuesday night to improve to 5-0.
The victory extended New York’s NBA-best start. The Knicks have won their first five games for the first time since opening the 1993-94 season 7-0 on their way to the NBA finals. The Knicks remain the league’s only unbeaten team.
“Defense, we buckled down,” Anthony said. “We kind of slowed them down, kept them off the glass rebounding. Once we had a chance to rebound the basketball, get out and make some shots, we didn’t turn back from there.”
J.J. Redick scored 18 points and Arron Afflalo added 13 for the Magic, who were stunted by 20 turnovers that led to 24 New York points. Orlando dropped its fifth consecutive game and continues to struggle without starters Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu.
“You have to want to win more, simple as that,” Afflalo said. “There’s not one man on this team that’s going to do it, (we) pretty much have to want it more.”
New York coach Mike Woodson has made no secret of the fact that for the Knicks to continue their recent output long-term, keeping his older team well-rested will be a necessity.
A three-day rest following their dominating win over Dallas on Friday was perfect timing for a Knicks squad that played its first three games in just four nights.
It showed against and Orlando team whose younger players were fearless attacking New York early on.
But so much youth on the floor also gave way to some careless mistakes late in the second half. Orlando pulled to 82-80 before the Knicks went on a 13-4 spurt to take a 95-84 lead with 2:36 to play and put the game away.
New York led by just a point at the break, Knicks coach Mike Woodson said that kind of effort wasn’t there early.
“We weren’t playing hard enough,” Woodson said. “You can’t just roll the ball out and think because their record indicates that they may not be good or they’re struggling as a team — any team can beat you in this league ... We got a few stops, and scored a bucket and we were able to secure the win. But it was a tough victory tonight.”
The Knicks will have another break from game action today before playing at San Antonio Thursday night.
Despite not scoring more than 75 points in none of their previous three losses, the Magic kept pace with the Knicks — who came in as one of the league’s top scoring teams.
The Magic’s younger players were right in the middle of the action, with rookies Maurice Harkless and Andrew Nicholson knocking down several big shots and making key defensive plays in the third quarter as the Knicks inched back in front and took a one-point lead into the final period.
The Knicks traded the lead with the Magic at the start of the fourth, with Orlando continually able to slip inside the paint.
But along with Anthony’s big night, the Knicks were also able to sustain the Magic’s efforts as Smith continued his hot streak from the 3-point line, connecting on both of his attempts. He is 13 of 18 overall for the season from behind the arc.
BOBCATS 92, WIZARDS 76
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Ramon Sessions scored 21 points and Charlotte beat winless Washington to get back-to-back victories for the first time since last December.
Rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist chipped in with 15 points and eight rebounds before leaving in the fourth quarter to ice down a sore back. Kemba Walker battled inconsistent shooting but finished with 17 points for the Bobcats (3-3).
It marked the first time the Bobcats have won two straight since taking the final game of the 2010-11 season and the first of last season.
Trevor Ariza scored 19 points for the Wizards, who fell to 0-6.
The Bobcats (3-3) limited the Wizards to 29.8 percent shooting and outscored them 46-24 in the paint.
RAPTORS 74, PACERS 72
INDIANAPOLIS — DeMar DeRozan scored 15 points and Jose Calderon had 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to lead Toronto.
DeRozan and Calderon each had 10 points in the first half for the Raptors, who had a franchise-low five points in the fourth quarter. Toronto led 69-58 heading into the fourth and hit only one field goal the rest of the way, also a franchise low record.
George Hill scored 18 points and Paul George had 12 points and nine rebounds to lead the Pacers, who have lost four of the last five.
Indiana went on a 9-0 run in the fourth and pulled to 74-72 with 1:02 left in the game. Neither team scored again.
NETS 114, CAVALIERS 101
NEW YORK — Deron Williams had 26 points and 10 assists, Joe Johnson scored 25 points, and Brooklyn beat road-weary Cleveland for its third straight victory.
Brook Lopez added 23 points for the Nets, who opened a 20-point lead at home for the third straight game, but this time barely let up and beat the Cavaliers for the sixth time in eight meetings after losing nine in a row, mostly during the LeBron James era.
Anderson Varejao scored a career-high 35 points and grabbed 18 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who were wrapping up a six-game, coast-to-coast trip and played much of the game with the urgency of a team that wanted to be home.
They haven’t played there since Nov. 2, their second game of the season, and dropped the final four games of the trip to finish 1-5.
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