Updated: April 4, 2013, 2:38 AM ET

1. Melo Is Hot Stuff As Knicks Win 10th Straight

By Nubyjas Wilborn | ESPN.com/TrueHoop Network

ATLANTA -- Carmelo Anthony followed up his masterful 50-point performance in Miami with a 40-point gem in Atlanta, leading his New York Knicks to their 10th straight win, 95-82 over the Atlanta Hawks.

Anthony became the second Knick since Patrick Ewing during the 1989-90 season to score at least 40 points in consecutive games. He was terrific, going 17-of-27 and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe. As great as his game was Wednesday night, his teammates were urging him to go for Bernard King's record of back-to-back 50-point games.

Carmelo Anthony
AP Photo/David GoldmanOne night after scoring 50 points, Melo had 40.

"When you see a guy going like that, you get it to him," said teammate Raymond Felton, who scored 14 points of his own. "That man is on one right now, he's playing really well scoring that basketball and that's what we need him to do right now."

The Knicks were in an exceptionally jovial mood after Wednesday's victory. So much so that normally stern coach Mike Woodson was gushing about his star forward.

"A lot of [his points] came off the bounce with just two or three dribbles and then a quick pullup. Whenever he got doubled, he would kick it back out as well. He's smart enough to know if he's doubled to sacrifice the ball. We have enough shooters around him that can make shots, and that opens it for Melo even more," Woodson said.

On Wednesday night, that's exactly what happened. J.R. Smith poured in 19, hitting some clutch shots in the fourth quarter, including a corner 3 that gave the Knicks an 87-76 lead with 4 minutes left and sealed the win. Steve Novak was 3-for-3 from the 3-point line, and all of those came in the second half.

Fortunately for the Knicks their other players started to step up, because at the half, Anthony had 24 of their 37 points. It seemed like at some points Melo's teammates were enjoying his offensive output as much as the partisan New York crowd inside the Hawks' home arena.

"It's tough; I got caught up in watching, I'm not going to lie, and he's almost averaging 30 points a game," Smith said. "I mean, you're sitting there and the shots just keep going in, but you have to snap out and look for your own shot and be ready when he's double-teamed."

The Knicks currently are sitting at the second seed in the East and potentially wouldn't see Miami until the Eastern Conference finals. This streak has the Knicks believing they could beat the incredible Heat. That actually isn't totally implausible; they don't play like "Melo & 'em" and they're moving the ball while hitting shots.

"It's not to get caught up watching, but you know, you got to make plays to keep the opposition honest," Knicks forward Kenyon Martin said. "You have to keep making plays, setting your screens, flare and be ready to hit shots because when he has it going like that, there is nothing the other team can do."

Martin wasn't too far off, because even the Hawks had to concede that sometimes no matter how well you guard a guy like Anthony, there isn't much you can do when he's in the zone.

"We played a very hot basketball team. Carmelo is really playing at a very high level right now. He's shooting the ball extremely well. I thought there were times we did defend him well. He still made shots. Right now he's really on a tear," Hawks coach Larry Drew said of Anthony's 40-point tour de force. "They have a couple of guys who are very capable of doing that. Carmelo, in his last two games, he's shooting all jump shots and he's hitting tough shots. Josh [Smith] is a good defender, and for him to hit shots over the top of Josh is really saying something. [Tuesday] night he had 50, so he's definitely in a great rhythm."

"That opens the floor for other guys, too," Hawks guard Kyle Korver said.

As much as everyone else seems to be in awe of Anthony's recent outbursts, he's just happy to win and get his teammates involved.

As Snoop Dogg said, "It ain't no fun if the homies can't have none," and Anthony made sure to get guys involved, with three assists and several uncounted hockey assists on which he made the pass that led to an assist.

"The rhythm was there, and I wanted to see if I still had it going. I felt like the rhythm was still there. It was just one of those nights once again. I've had games before where I felt like I had a great rhythm, but I can't remember having a run like this. My teammates are giving me great confidence and energy as well," Anthony said.

Admittedly it's tough to see the Knicks (or anybody else for that matter) beating Miami in a seven-game series. However, when you're able to get as hot as Melo can, and have guys like Novak, J.R. Smith, Felton and Iman Shumpert hitting shots, the Knicks can at least push the Heat a bit.

It's just like when the 76ers were big underdogs versus the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2001 NBA Finals and Stephen A. Smith famously said "A.I. gonna get ya one." It's easy to see Anthony taking one game into his hands and propelling the Knicks to a victory.

"I feel like I have the opportunity. I just want to take my time and when I'm open, and then find the open man when I'm doubled," he said.

If he's able to hold true to that, we're in for an exhilarating playoff run.

Nubyjas Wilborn's work appears regularly on HawksHoop.

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