<
>

Rapid Reaction: Knicks 123, Sixers 110

NEW YORK -- No one is certain whether Phil Jackson is coming to New York or not. But all the Jackson talk doesn’t seem to be distracting the Knicks.

Mike Woodson’s club continued its climb up the Eastern Conference standings Monday with a win over the 76ers.

The victory -- New York’s fourth straight -- moved the Knicks into sole possession of ninth place in the conference, percentage points ahead of the Pistons.

The Hawks beat the Jazz later Monday so the Knicks' deficit for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference remained at 3 1/2 games.

New York had four players score at least 20 points against Philly.

Tim Hardaway Jr. led the team with 28 points. Amar'e Stoudemire had 23. Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith added 22 apiece. The last time the Knicks had four players score at least 20 points was April 17, 2012.

New York struggled early against a Sixers team that has lost 17 in a row, trailing by 12 in the first quarter.

But Carmelo & Co. bounced back in the second to tie the score at 61 by halftime and reeled off a 10-2 run to start the fourth quarter. The Knicks are looking to become just the third team since 1984 to make the playoffs after facing a deficit of at least five games with fewer than 25 games to play.

Amar’e revival: One of the keys to this Knicks win streak has been Stoudemire's play.

The veteran power forward has been incredibly efficient since being inserted into the starting lineup five games ago. What Stoudemire did Monday only supported that theory. He had 23 points on 9-for-10 shooting to go along with six rebounds. Stoudemire also played 30 minutes, no small feat for a player who was on a minutes limit earlier this season.

Tim’s time: Hardaway continued to show that he had no business being selected with the 24th pick in the 2013 NBA draft. The rookie poured in 28 points on 9-for-13 shooting, including five of six 3s.

Potent offense: The Knicks shot 54 percent from the field and hit 40 percent from 3. Four players had at least three assists. New York forced Philly into 18 turnovers and scored 28 points off those turnovers.

What’s next: The Knicks will play the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.