Melo's hot hand gives Knicks momentum

NEW YORK -- Forget 62. The only number that mattered for the New York Knicks on Sunday was two.

As in two straight wins.

Thanks to 35 points from Carmelo Anthony and a strong effort from the supporting cast, the Knicks held on for a 110-103 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

A winning streak of any kind has been hard to come by for New York this year. They won two in a row on Dec. 5 and Dec. 6. And they won five straight from Jan. 5 to Jan. 13. Other than that? Nothing.

“We needed them,” Anthony said of the two wins this weekend. “It was a booster for us confidence-wise. We’ve got to start building something on our home court.”

Don’t look now, but the Knicks have a decent chance to gain some momentum this week. They have games at home against the Celtics and the Cavaliers before finishing the week by hosting the Heat on Saturday.

“We’re going to take it one game at a time,” Anthony said. “We got one Tuesday and see if we can continue the streak.”

Obviously, Anthony’s fingerprints are all over these two wins. He poured in a Madison Square Garden and franchise record 62 points Friday against the Bobcats. And for the first few minutes of Sunday’s game against the Lakers, it seemed like Anthony was on his way to another record-setting performance.

He started the game by hitting four of his first six shots, and had nine points in the opening nine minutes. “Just trying to lock in again, get it going from the start,” Anthony said. “Hopefully get my teammates some momentum, something they could build off and feed off.”

Mission accomplished. Four other Knicks scored at least 13 points against Mike D'Antoni's Lakers. Raymond Felton had 20 and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 18. J.R. Smith chipped in 16 off the bench on 6-for-12 shooting.

“I don’t think they just wanted to watch me out there playing offensively,” said Anthony, who had five assists Sunday. “Before the game, we all talked about them being more aggressive and don’t try to rely on me scoring 62 points because it’s not going to happen today. And they did that. They were aggressive from the start. And everybody seemed to get it going.”

In the end, though, the Knicks relied on Anthony to carry them home. With the Knicks up just two points and five minutes to play, Anthony scored three straight buckets to expand the lead to seven with 2:30 to go.

The fourth-quarter run capped a sensational weekend for Anthony. He scored a total of 96 points in two games, on 66 percent shooting.

Now, thanks to their superstar's hot hand, the Knicks may have something going in what seemed like a lost season.

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