THE FACTS: One night after scoring 50 points in a win over Miami, Carmelo Anthony scored 40 points and got key contributions from J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton down the stretch as the New York Knicks made it a season-best 10 straight wins by beating the Atlanta Hawks 95-82 Wednesday night.
The win kept the Knicks (48-26) a half-game ahead of Indiana for second place in the Eastern Conference.
Smith had 19 points and Felton finished with 14 for New York. Kyle Korver had 25 points for Atlanta, which lost for the third straight time to New York. The Hawks still hold a half-game lead over Chicago for fifth place in the East.
Anthony was spectacular over the first three quarters, outscoring the rest of the Knicks team 36-32 while shooting 15-for-22, including a torrid 6-for-9 in the third quarter. In the fourth, however, it was Anthony's supporting cast that took over.
Felton and J.R. Smith each scored 10 points in the final stanza, which saw only four New York players score (Anthony had four points and Steve Novak hit a 3). The Knicks shot 56.8 percent in the second half, including a torrid 63.2 percent (12-for-19) in the last quarter during which they outscored Atlanta, which shot 50 percent (48.5 for the game), 27-14. They also played superb defense on Atlanta's bigs, limiting Al Horford to nine points and Josh Smith to 10.
QUOTABLE: "They were switching a lot of things to try to take away Josh and Al. I was able to get some looks in the first half. I just tried to knock them down."
-- Kyle Korver, who hit 6 of his 10 treys
THE STAT: 9-23: That was the combined shooting of Josh Smith and Horford. Smith was 5-for-13, 1-for-5 in the second half. Horford saw his streak of 32 straight double-digit-scoring games end with his nine-point night, during which he took only 10 shots, making four of them.
TURNING POINT: While Anthony carried the Knicks almost all night, the player that came up biggest at the end of the game was guard Felton. With the score tied at 70 two minutes into the final quarter, Felton made a steal that led to a J.R. Smith layup. New York would never trail or be tied again. But the veteran guard wasn't done. He'd scored six straight New York points in a 77-second span that opened up an eight-point lead.
QUOTABLE II: "He was big because we changed our offense up a little bit, and instead of using two guards we just went with one up the middle. He was pretty good at delivering for us."
--New York coach Mike Woodson on Felton
HOT: Anthony stayed hot in the second game of the back-to-back as he shot 17-for-27 (63.0 percent). He tormented Josh Smith, one of the league's premiere defenders, shooting 5-for-8 in the first quarter, 4-for-5 in the second, 6-for-9 in the third and hitting J's from either side of the court.
HOT II: Korver did his best to counter Anthony and keep the Hawks in the game. In the middle two frames, Korver sizzled, nailing 5-for-7 shots, 2-for-4 from 3. In the third, he went 3-for-4, all from 3three, scoring 10 points. In the third quarter, he nailed a pair of 3s in a 41-second span, then grabbed a rebound and blocked a shot as the Hawks cut an eight-point lead to one.
NOT: Josh Smith had a frustrating night all around, but especially at the foul line, going 0-for-7, all in the first half. Jeff Teague was the only other Hawk to get to the foul line in the first half, going 5-for-6. New York outscored the Knicks from the line 6-5 in the first half despite being outshot from there, 13-8. For the game, Atlanta shot 47.4 percent from the line, 9-for-19.
GOOD MOVE: With 1:32 remaining in the third quarter and the score tied at 64, J.R. Smith was whistled for a technical foul for getting into it with Atlanta forward Ivan Johnson who had just bumped Anthony. While Korver converted the technical foul, giving Atlanta the lead, Smith's standing up for Anthony is what a good teammate does. It also fired up Smith, who went off in the fourth, shooting 4-for-5, 1-for-2 from 3three.
BAD MOVE: Atlanta didn't do a good job of getting Horford touches in scoring position. Horford got only two points and attempted only four shots in the first half. He didn't get his first shot until 2:40 remained in the first quarter, and did not get another until five minutes elapsed in the second. Of his three second-quarter FGAs, two came on one possession and he didn't get off another shot after that until the final minute before the half. Horford, who had a streak of 32 double-digit-scoring games — he was looking to tie his career-high of 33 — managed only nine points the entire night, three of them in the fourth quarter, when the lead had reached double-digits. A lot of the credit goes to the defense of reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Tyson Chandler, and veteran Kenyon Martin.
ROOKIE WATCH: Knicks guard Pablo Prigioni was solid in his 10th straight start at the point. In 13:26, he shot 2-for-4, all from 3three, and grabbed a rebound. He made both of his 3s in the third quarter, with the second one coming with 5:14 remaining. It extended a one-point New York lead to four.
NOTABLE: Among the notables in the crowd were Conan O'Brien, former Hawk Kevin Willis, Butler University coach Brad Stevens and rapper 2 Chainz. ...Korver's first-quarter 3 gave him at least one 3 in 69 straight games, passing Reggie Miller for the fourth-longest streak in NBA history. ...Josh Smith dished out five assists on the night. His fifth was the 2,159th of his career, tying him for 10th with Spud Webb in franchise history. ...Anthony's basket with 43.1 seconds remaining in the half, moved him past former Knick Rolando Blackman and into 67th place on the NBA all-time scoring list. He has 17,641 career points. Next up is Magic Johnson, who scored 17,707. ...Former Hawks coach Woodson won his first game in Atlanta since coming to New York. Woodson coached the Hawks from 2004 through 2010, going 135-111 in games at Philips Arena. ...Atlanta had 22 assists, making it 66 games out of 76 this season with at least 20 assists.
UP NEXT: For the Knicks, Friday vs. Milwaukee, Sunday @ Oklahoma City, Tuesday vs. Washington. For the Hawks, Friday vs. Philadelphia, Saturday @ San Antonio, Wednesday @ Philadelphia.