NEW YORK — The New York Knicks won their fourth straight game to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, turning back the Philadelphia 76ers 123-110 on Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
Center Amar’e Stoudemire matched his season best with 23 points, connecting on 9-of-10 shots from the floor for New York (25-40), which started the night two games behind Atlanta for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.
Rookie guard Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 28 points and forwards Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith added 22 points apiece.
Guard Michael Carter-Williams registered a triple-double, scoring 23 points with 13 rebounds and 10 assists for Philadelphia (15-48), which has lost 17 straight games, its longest losing streak since a franchise-high 20-game skid in 1973. The 76ers last win was on Jan. 29 at Boston.
Guards Tony Wroten and James Anderson added 23 and 17 points, respectively, for Philadelphia.
New York opened the fourth quarter with a 19-4 run to pull away to a 110-89 lead with 7:38 to play.
The Knicks were without center Tyson Chandler, who was averaging 12.4 points and 15.2 rebounds over his last five games. Chandler was not with the team due to personal reasons. In his absence the 6-foot-11 Stoudemire made his first start at center this season.
Iman Shumpert started his third game since coming back from a sprained left MCL on March 2 as Knicks coach Mike Woodson deployed his 17th different lineup of the season. Shumpert started at the shooting guard and Smith moved to the small forward.
“We played through Amar’e (Stoudemire) and he made plays inside and that allowed guys to make shots off the pick and roll,” said Woodson. “We got some stops, then the floor started to open up for us.
Philadelphia’s last lead of the game was 79-78 with 4:15 left in the third quarter. That was erased courtesy of a 9-0 Knicks run that put them ahead 87-79 with 1:42 remaining in the quarter. Anthony scored seven points in the spurt.
Sixers center Henry Sims’ driving dunk tied the score at 61-61 with only 2.4 seconds left in the first half. New York led 59-54 after Hardaway sank a 19-foot jumper, but Philadelphia closed the half on a 7-2 run.
Anderson tossed in 10 points to help Philadelphia to a 31-26 lead after the first quarter. It marked the most points the 76ers scored in the first quarter since Feb. 7, a span of 12 games.
The game was tied at 11-11 before the 76ers went on an 18-6 run to move ahead 29-17 with 2:49 left in the quarter.
“We can definitely take good things away from this game,” said Carter-Williams. “We have to keep striving for wins. I’m trying not to think about the losing streak.”
After going 2-11 in January and February, the Knicks are 4-2 in March and were five games behind Atlanta in the loss column before play started on Monday.
It’s expected that Phil Jackson, who has 11 championship rings as a player and coach, will make his decision soon whether to accept a position in New York’s front office.
“I’ve got to worry about what I’m doing from a coaching standpoint in terms of trying to get our guys ready to play,” said Woodson about the Jackson distraction. “It’s out there. It is what it is.
“We dug ourselves such a deep hole (early in the season), but these guys haven’t quit and I’m happy as heck about that.”
NOTES: The Knicks signed G Shannon Brown and F Earl Clark each to second 10-day contracts. Brown is averaging 1.4 points over 8.3 minutes in seven games and Clark is averaging 2.2 points over 6.6 minutes in six games. … The Knicks purchased a team in the NBA Development League that will play in White Plains, N.Y., starting in 2014-15. The Knicks are the seventh NBA team in the 18-team D-League to fully own and operate their own affiliate. … Knicks F Carmelo Anthony was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for March 3-9. … Philadelphia G Michael Carter-Williams leads all rookies in scoring, assists, rebounds and steals. … There are just three players on the 76ers (F Arnett Moultrie, G Jason Richardson and G Thaddeus Young) who were with the team at the end of last season.
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