NEW YORK – Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points and the New York Knicks opened the Phil Jackson era by beating the Indiana Pacers 92-86 Wednesday night for their season-high seventh straight victory.
With their new team president watching from a midcourt seat, the Knicks dominated the first half, then pulled away after the Eastern Conference leaders finally got on track in the second half.
Fans stood to cheer Jackson in the first quarter and were on their feet again in the final minute to watch the Knicks beat the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year.
Lance Stephenson had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Pacers, who had their four-game winning streak snapped and failed to extend their three-game lead over the Miami Heat, who lost to Boston earlier Wednesday.
Roy Hibbert scored 20 on 8-of-10 shooting, but All-Star Paul George missed all six first-quarter shots and finished 4 for 17 for his 17 points.
New York’s previous six wins had all come against non-playoff teams, but this was against a team that seemingly had returned to form after dropping a season-worst four in a row.
Amare Stoudemire added 21 points and Tyson Chandler grabbed 14 rebounds for the Knicks, who are four games behind Atlanta for the final East playoff spot.
BULLS 102, 76ERS 94: In Philadelphia, D.J Augustin scored 20 points and Taj Gibson had 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead Chicago to a win over Philadelphia, handing the 76ers their 22nd straight loss.
The Sixers are four losses shy of matching the NBA record for longest-single season losing streak.
CELTICS 101, HEAT 96: In Boston, Rajon Rondo hit two running baseline shots in the last two minutes and Boston capitalized on the absence of LeBron James to beat Miami.
One night after scoring 43 points in a 100-96 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, James sat out the game with back spasms and the Heat lost for the first time in their three games without him this season.
NETS 104, BOBCATS 99: In New York, Deron Williams scored 23 points, Joe Johnson added 20 and Brooklyn overcame a late deficit to win their 10th straight at home.
Williams scored 11 of his points in the final six minutes.
GRIZZLIES 96, JAZZ 86: In Memphis, Tenn., Zach Randolph scored 21 points, Marc Gasol added 20 and Memphis maintained its hold on a Western Conference playoff spot.
RAPTORS 107, PELICANS 100: In New Orleans, DeMar DeRozan scored 31 points, Greivis Vasquez victimized his former team with six points in the last two minutes to power Toronto.
TIMBERWOLVES 123, MAVERICKS 122, OT: In Dallas, Kevin Love scored 35 points, including the go-ahead basket in overtime, Ricky Rubio had a triple-double and Minnesota blew several leads before hanging on for the victory.
NUGGETS 118, PISTONS 109: In Denver, Aaron Brooks had 27 points and a career-high 17 assists to lead Denver.
Randy Foye added 22 points, Kenneth Faried had 14 and J.J. Hickson had 11 points for the Nuggets