Melo Goes Off Again, Knicks Claim 12th Straight at OKC | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Thursday / August 11.
  • Melo Goes Off Again, Knicks Claim 12th Straight at OKC

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    By JOSH NEWMAN

    Special to ZAGSBLOG

    J.R. SmithIf one didn’t believe the Knicks are peaking at the right time of the regular season, Sunday afternoon’s effort should have taken care of any doubts.

    A 36-point, 12-rebound effort from Carmelo Anthony and clutch shooting late from J.R. Smith delivered the Atlantic Division-leading Knicks their 12th straight victory, 125-120, at the Oklahoma City in what was arguably a possible preview of the NBA Finals.

    Anthony now has 167 points in his last four games, the Knicks have won 50 games in a season for the first time since 1999-2000 and the magic number to clinch the Atlantic Division for the first time since 1993-94 sits at one.

    “This is a tough building to win in,” Knicks head coach Mike Woodson told reporters. “It was like an old-school shootout with all the offense displayed. For our team it was a great win.’’

    The Knicks led 65-57 at halftime and led by as many as 12 in the second half before trailing by one on multiple occasions in the fourth quarter, but Anthony and Smith came up huge late to keep the winning streak going.

    The duo combined to score the Knicks’ final nine points, but it was Smith, a Sixth Man of the Year candidate, delivering the knockout blow. A step back jumper gave the Knicks a 117-113 with 1:30 to play and after Russell Westbrook missed a 3-poiinter down the other end, Smith nailed a deep trey of his own from the right wing for a 120-113 with 56.8 seconds to play.

    During the 12-game winning streak, the Knicks have beaten the Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Boston Celtics twice and now the defending Western Conference champions. The streak has put a stranglehold on the Atlantic Division, in addition to putting them in prime position for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks now lead the Indiana Pacers by 2.5 games for the 2-seed as the Pacers have five games remaining.

    That win over the Heat, the defending NBA champions and a prohibitive favorite this season to at the very least get back to the NBA Finals, gave the Knicks the season series over LeBron James and Co., 3-1.

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