Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks climbed above .500 for the first time since mid-January in overwhelming fashion, scoring 21 straight points in the third quarter and routing the Orlando Magic 108-86 on Wednesday night.
Anthony and Iman Shumpert each scored 25 points for the Knicks (26-25), who won for the eighth time in nine games despite playing without the injured Amare Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin. New York outscored Orlando 65-30 in the middle two quarters and has a winning record for the first time since it was 6-5 before a loss to Oklahoma City on Jan. 14.
The Knicks moved 2 1/2 games ahead of Milwaukee for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and pulled within 2 1/2 of Philadelphia and Boston for first place in the Atlantic Division. New York could get Stoudemire back before the end of the season, announcing Wednesday that he could be back in two to four weeks after non-surgical treatment for a bulging disk in his back.
Anthony knows he must step up until then without Stoudemire and Lin (sore left knee), and he had his second straight strong performance since they were hurt. Anthony scored 28 points Monday, and would have easily surpassed that had he not been limited to 26 minutes.
Playing despite a strained right groin, Anthony shot 9 of 15, his jumper that has been off all season falling in a third-quarter flurry that blew open the game.
Jameer Nelson scored 17 points and JJ Redick had 15 for the Magic, who had their three-game winning streak snapped. Ryan Anderson, who made seven 3-pointers and scored a career-high 30 points in the Magic's 102-93 victory here Jan. 16, took just four shots and scored three points.
The Knicks built a big lead by outscoring Orlando 32-12 in the second quarter, then made it a blowout in the third.
After scoring mostly down low in the first half, Anthony came out and knocked down two 3-pointers and a long jumper to make it a 20-point game. Dwight Howard made a layup before a short jumper by Baron Davis ignited the 21-0 burst, the Knicks' longest of the season.
Orlando went scoreless for more than 6 minutes, and it was 88-49 after Shumpert's jumper with 2:58 remaining in the third period.
Howard had just 12 points for the Magic, who had won 14 of the previous 17 meetings. They equaled their highest point total of the season Monday by scoring 117 in Toronto, but couldn't get anything going against a Knicks team that is allowing only 86 points per game since Mike Woodson replaced Mike D'Antoni on March 14.
The Knicks used a 12-0 run to take a 52-38 lead on Shumpert's layup with 1:20 remaining in the first half. The Knicks took a 57-41 lead into the break on Steve Novak's 3-pointer at the buzzer.