NEW YORK (AP) — New York's once faint, nearly unrealistic playoff hopes have become a real possibility. The Knicks intend to seize the opportunity and run with it.
"We know what we want," Carmelo Anthony said.
J.R. Smith had 24 points, eight rebounds and six assists, Anthony added 23 points and 10 rebounds, and the Knicks beat the city rival Brooklyn Nets 110-81 Wednesday night to move percentage points ahead of Atlanta for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
The Knicks were 21-40 on March 3 after a seven-game skid and are still just 33-43. But they know that record gets wiped away if they can finish off this turnaround.
"We want to get there. That's the goal," Anthony said. "Despite this emotional season, this up-and-down season, I think it would be a big deal to get in that spot."
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 17 points a game after spraining his right ankle to help the Knicks win for the 12th time in 15 games, dominating a team that had the best record in the Eastern Conference since the new year. New York won its third straight.
The Knicks made 24 of 36 shots in taking a 63-38 halftime time in front of new president Phil Jackson, who wouldn't have much to fix if they looked like this more often. They finished at a season-high 60 percent and outrebounded Brooklyn 41-23.
"Our guys are hungry," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "Normally anybody that comes off the West Coast, when you've been out there for a while, that game coming back is normally a tough game, but our guys came out with energy and came out ready to play."
Joe Johnson scored 16 points for the Nets, who had won three straight. A night after clinching a playoff berth by beating Houston, they were out of the game by the opening minutes of the second quarter.
"It was very frustrating the way we got blown out," Johnson said. "For whatever reason, we had a few guys fighting and a few guys who wasn't fighting. If we're not all on the same page, you get a lopsided score like that."
In a game that both clubs need for different reasons, the Knicks were the more desperate team, taking a 2-1 lead in the season series. None of the games has been close, but both have bigger concerns than city bragging rights, anyway.
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