NEW YORK — The Knicks are suddenly streaking.
Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points and New York won its season-high third straight game with a 113-106 victory over the Orlando Magic on Jan. 23.
Jason Smith added a season-best 19 points for the Knicks, who improved to 8-36. Lance Thomas had 16 points, and Langston Galloway 15; both are in the midst of their second 10-day contract.
“I thought they were resilient as a unit out there,” coach Derek Fisher said. “Just continued to find ways to stay together on both ends of the floor. We got some timely stops, which is always key in the fourth quarter. No matter what has happened prior to that in a close game, you have to be able to get stops in order to win and they did that tonight.”
The three-game streak had Anthony smiling after the game — a rare occurrence for the majority of the season.
“I think it’s just effort, energy, attention to details,” Anthony said. “I think the guys that have been helping us and contributing to these last couple of games, (those) guys are hungry. They’re showing it, they’re playing like it. They’re having a lot of fun. We’re having a lot of fun out there now. I think that comes with putting forth the effort and the energy and being able to see results from there.”
Nikola Vucevic led the way for the Magic (15-31) with 34 points and 18 rebounds. Elfrid Payton finished with 11 assists.
“You give up 113 points, I don’t care if you’ll be at the neighborhood gym, you’ll have a hard time winning the game,” coach Jacque Vaughn said.
Orlando led 96-94 with 4:01 left after Tobias Harris completed a three-point play, but Galloway gave the Knicks the lead right back with a 3-pointer.
The Magic reclaimed the advantage on Vucevic’s basket, making it 98-97 with 3:31 remaining. But Anthony’s driving layup put New York back on top and the Knicks went on a 6-0 run that as capped by Thomas’ basket with 1:55 left.
Payton’s driving layup got the Magic close, making it a three-point game at 103-100 with 1:47 remaining. But the Knicks then went on a 9-2 run that sealed the victory.
With the win, New York moved out of the NBA cellar. The distinction of the worst team in the league now belongs to the Minnesota Timberwolves (7-35).