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Carmelo, Knicks silence Heat Thunder fall in Denver

NEW YORK, Jan 10, (AP): They don’t look like the lowly losers of last month. The New York Knicks are playing as if it’s last season — when they even had mighty Miami’s number. Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points, Andrea Bargnani had 19, and the Knicks beat the Heat 102-92 on Thursday night for their season-high third straight victory. Raymond Felton had 13 points and 14 assists for the Knicks, who seized control with a 16-2 run spanning the third and fourth quarters and beat the Heat for the fourth time in five meetings over the last two seasons. New York was second to Miami in the Eastern Conference last season when it won the series 3-1, but there was little reason to suggest until recently the Knicks were ready to compete with the NBA champions this season. New York is 13-22 but has won four of five in 2014, with victories over San Antonio and Miami - last season’s NBA finalists.

With Tyson Chandler out sick and J.R. Smith stuck on the bench as an apparent punishment, Amare Stoudemire had 14 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. LeBron James scored 32 points for the Heat, who played without injured starters Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier and didn’t get much from Chris Bosh, who was held to six points on 3-of-10 shooting. Dwyane Wade scored 23 points but missed all six free throws after sitting out the morning shootaround as Miami had its three-game winning streak snapped. Smith didn’t play after the reigning Sixth Man of the Year’s latest trouble, a $50,000 fine when he attempted to untie an opponent’s sneaker for the second straight game, after he’d been warned by the NBA not to do it again. Knicks coach Mike Woodson criticized Smith’s behavior during a radio interview Wednesday but said before the game he wouldn’t discuss Smith any longer.

But the benching did the speaking for him. Smith often stood far away from the huddle during timeouts, but his teammates sure didn’t miss him on the court. Woodson again wouldn’t comment after the game, but no Knicks player, not even Smith, seemed to know he wouldn’t play. Though the roster is different and the results are way worse, Woodson said before the game he believed the things that worked so well against the Heat last season could still do so, and for this night he was right as New York shot 54 percent from the field. The Knicks surged into the lead late in the third. Bargnani answered back quickly after James blew by him for a dunk, converting a three-point play to tie it and ignite a 9-0 spurt that helped New York lead 75-71 entering the final 12 minutes.

Nuggets 101, Thunder 88
In Denver, the sudden resurgence of the Denver Nuggets has a lot to do with Randy Foye’s surprising scoring punch. Foye had a season-high 24 points and the Nuggets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-88 Thursday night for their fourth win in a row after an eight-game losing streak. It was the second time in two games that Foye, who hit six 3-pointers, established a season high. He was coming off a 23-point effort in which he made seven 3s in Denver’s victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.
All that work on polishing his perimeter shot has been paying off. Foye has made 17 of 29 3-point attempts during Denver’s winning streak.

His latest effort helped the Nuggets overcome Kevin Durant’s 30 points as Denver beat the Thunder for the first time in three tries this season. The teams meet a final time in Oklahoma City on March 24.
Quincy Miller, making his first career start, had nine points while playing in place of Wilson Chandler, who remains day to day after straining his left groin against Boston, the team said.
‘’To beat a team like that, without Wilson and having young guys in there and not being that deep on the bench, was huge,’’ Foye said.

Evan Fournier had 19 points, including four 3-pointers, and Ty Lawson added 16 points and 14 assists for Denver. Kenneth Faried grabbed 14 rebounds.
Fournier said he fed off Foye’s offensive output and the up-tempo pace set by Lawson.
Reggie Jackson scored 13 and Derek Fisher 12 for the Thunder.
Serge Ibaka, who missed Tuesday night’s 112-101 loss at Utah because of flu-like symptoms, had eight points and 10 rebounds in his return.
The Thunder missed their first 10 shots from 3-point range before Jackson and Durant each connected from beyond the arc on successive possessions, pulling Oklahoma City to 72-59.

Denver answered with several 3s over the next 6 minutes. Foye and Fournier hit two apiece, Lawson converted a three-point play and the Nuggets extended their lead to 89-66 by the end of the third quarter.
Overall, the Nuggets outscored the Thunder 29-15 in the third to build a 23-point lead heading into the final period. Oklahoma City didn’t make a significant dent in Denver’s advantage the rest of the way.
Despite getting 24 points from Durant in the first half, the Thunder trailed 60-51.
After Durant made a pair of free throws to pull Oklahoma City to 50-47 with 2:22 left in the second quarter, the Nuggets closed with a 10-4 burst punctuated by Lawson’s 3-pointer from the top of the key in the waning moments of the period.

NBA Results/Standings
WASHINGTON, Jan 10, (RTRS): Results and standings the NBA games on Thursday.
NY Knicks    102    Miami    92
Denver    101    Oklahoma    88
Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
    W    L    PCT    GB
Toronto    17    17    .500    -
Brooklyn    14    21    .400    3-1/2
NY Knicks    13    22    .371    4-1/2
Boston    13    23    .361    5
Philadelphia    12    23    .343    5-1/2
Central Division
    W    L    PCT    GB
Indiana    28    7    .800    -
Chicago    15    18    .455    12
Detroit    14    22    .389    14-1/2
Cleveland    12    23    .343    16
Milwaukee    7    27    .206    20-1/2
Southeast Division
    W    L    PCT    GB
Miami    27    9    .750    -
Atlanta    19    17    .528    8
Washington    16    17    .485    9-1/2
Charlotte    15    21    .417    12
Orlando    10    25    .286    16-1/2
Western Conference
Northwest Division
    W    L    PCT    GB
Portland    27    9    .750    -
Oklahoma City    27    9    .750    -
Denver    18    17    .514    8-1/2
Minnesota    17    18    .486    9-1/2
Utah    12    25    .324    15-1/2
Pacific Division
    W    L    PCT    GB
LA Clippers    25    13    .658    -
Golden State    24    14    .632    1
Phoenix    21    13    .618    2
LA Lakers    14    22    .389    10
Sacramento    11    22    .333    11-1/2
Southwest Division
    W    L    PCT    GB
San Antonio    28    8    .778    -
Houston    23    13    .639    5
Dallas    20    16    .556    8
New Orleans    15    19    .441    12
Memphis    15    19    .441    12


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