Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Sports

Melo keeps Knicks hot at home

NEW YORK — Joakim Noah's illness made it an unsettling morning for the Knicks' backup centers. Carmelo Anthony made sure it was a smooth afternoon.

Anthony matched his season high with 31 points, and New York beat the Hawks 104-94 Sunday for its fourth straight home victory.

Anthony has never been a morning person, but he wanted to come out aggressively Sunday after the Knicks followed a loss Thursday in Washington with a lengthy meeting Saturday featuring players, coaches and even team president Phil Jackson.

"Some nights like (Sunday) call for me to get it going early," Anthony said. "My mind-set was just to come out and get it going early."

Kristaps Porzingis added 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Knicks, who led most of the way against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.

Former Magic star Dwight Howard had 18 points and 18 rebounds, but point guard Dennis Schroder missed all eight shots as the Hawks lost their second straight after a six-game winning streak.

"I feel like we didn't play well enough on the road. You have to bring a better game, but give the New York Knicks credit," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "Carmelo played a heck of a game, hit a lot of tough shots."

The Knicks didn't have Noah, the former Gators star, to defend Howard after doctors sent him home because of an illness. Kyle O'Quinn was told during pregame he would start, and rookie Marshall Plumlee had to rush into the city by train then taxi after he received a morning phone call and was told he would be called up from Westchester of the Development League to make his NBA debut.

"Opportunity knocked and we were all ready as a team defensively," O'Quinn said.

Howard bounced back nicely after he was ejected for a flagrant foul Friday in the Hawks' 100-96 loss in Charlotte.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS: Jeff Teague scored eight of his 30 in overtime, and the Pacers beat the Thunder 115-111 for their first road victory of the season. Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook had his fifth triple double of the season — as many as the rest of the league combined — with 31 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds, but he went 13-of-34 from the field. … C.J. McCollum scored 33, Evan Turner had 19 and the visiting Blazers beat the Nets 129-109. Portland snapped a three-game losing streak and extended Brooklyn's skid to four.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Warriors coach Steve Kerr was fined $25,000 by the league for publicly criticizing officiating. The penalty was for comments Kerr made during a radio interview Thursday, when he complained about how referees miss what he believes should be obvious traveling calls. … Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons has a bone bruise to his left knee and is expected to miss at least two weeks.

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