The Knicks did their part Friday night. They just couldn't get any help from the Nets.
New York beat Toronto and the Hawks won at Brooklyn on Friday night, meaning the Hawks' "magic number" to clinch a playoff berth is down to one.
The only way the Knicks get into the playoffs is if Atlanta loses all three of its remaining games and the Knicks win all three of theirs.
New York took care of business on its end thanks to 30 points from banged-up Carmelo Anthony and an impressive 24-point, 11-rebound effort from Amar'e Stoudemire. Iman Shumpert was exceptional on defense and added 11 points for the Knicks, who came back from a seven-point third-quarter deficit.
Shouldering the load: Anthony shook off soreness in his right shoulder to pour in a game-high 30 on 8-for-17 shooting. Anthony did the bulk of his damage at the free throw line, hitting 13 of 14 from the line. Anthony also had 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
In his previous two games, Anthony shot 9-for-31 and was hampered by a sore right shoulder.
Four days between games seemed to help Anthony, though he was wincing at times during the game and appeared to be in discomfort.
STAT sizzles: Stoudemire kept the Knicks in the game early on, scoring five quick points to offset Anthony’s first-quarter struggles. Stoudemire took advantage of Toronto in the paint, scoring on an array of post moves. Somewhere, tutor Hakeem Olajuwon was smiling.
Shumpert also played a big role in the victory with two key fourth-quarter steals. Shumpert was extremely active on the perimeter, play that was reminiscent of his rookie season.
Hanging on: The Hawks play Miami, Charlotte and Milwaukee to close the season. The Knicks play Chicago, Brooklyn and Toronto to finish it out. Again, any Knicks loss or Hawks win would clinch the eighth spot for Atlanta and keep New York out of the playoffs.
What’s next: The Knicks will host the Bulls on Sunday.
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