NCAA

Knicks end Spurs' 7-game winning streak in romp

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Knicks end Spurs' 7-game winning streak in romp

NEW YORK (AP) Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points, J.R. Smith kept up his surge with 20 and the New York Knicks snapped the San Antonio Spurs' seven-game winning streak with a 100-83 victory Thursday night.

Steve Novak added 15 points and Tyson Chandler had 10 points and 14 rebounds to help the Knicks bounced back from consecutive losses by dominating the final period against the Spurs, who may have run out of gas in their second game in two nights.

Tim Duncan and Tony Parker each had just 11 points for the Spurs, who lost Stephen Jackson to an unusual injury, then lost what had been the NBA's longest winning streak.

Jackson played just three minutes off the bench before spraining his right ankle when he took a shot then fell back into a waitress working the sideline in front of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Smith, who had scored 25 points in his last four games as a reserve, highlighted his outing with an acrobatic dunk in the fourth quarter that brought fans to their feet. The pass came from reserve point guard Pablo Prigioni, who had one of his most complete games since coming to the NBA at age 35, finishing with six points and nine assists.

The Knicks put away what had been a close game for three quarters, scoring the first 10 points of the fourth to take a 17-point lead. The Spurs, playing for the fourth time in five nights, went with reserves from there and never put much of a dent in it.

San Antonio, which averaged 111.7 points on 53.4 percent shooting during its winning streak and rang up 117 points on Wednesday in Milwaukee, shot just 36 percent. Gary Neal led the Spurs with 12 points.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich praised the Knicks' defense before the game, though it had slipped during their stretch of three losses in four games. Looking for a fix, coach Mike Woodson gave Marcus Camby a start at forward in hopes of ending the Knicks' slow starts, and they allowed just 19 points in the first quarter.

Amare Stoudemire had 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting in his second game of the season after knee surgery. He seemed more aggressive than in his debut Tuesday but is clearly without his typical explosiveness, having a number of shots blocked when he tried to power his way inside.

Leading 67-60 after three, the Knicks opened the fourth with a 10-0 run that made it 77-60 on Novak's 3-pointer with 10:24 remaining. New York poured it on from there, the lead growing to 20 when Smith caught a lob from Prigioni around his waist while in the air and slammed it home. Novak followed with another 3-pointer on the next possession to make it 95-72.

Jackson entered the game just 13 seconds in, but his night was over late in the period after his bizarre injury. Jackson launched a 3-pointer from the corner with 3:23 left, stepping backward out of bounds after the miss and falling onto the waitress. He limped back onto the court as the Knicks played with a 5-on-4 advantage that led to Anthony's 3-pointer. The Spurs then took a timeout and Jackson limped off toward the locker rooms.

It was unclear if the waitress was serving Bloomberg, who was seen eating a box of popcorn shortly after.

Woodson said before the game he thought the Spurs were the best team in basketball right now, though Popovich dismissed that as gamesmanship he learned from Larry Brown. San Antonio sure didn't look its best while losing for the first time since a 112-106 setback at Denver on Dec. 18 and getting held well below its NBA-best 105.9 points per game.

Notes: The Spurs hadn't played here since January 2011, so this was their first time back in Madison Square Garden since renovations began. Popovich jokingly yelled at Parker for not knowing how to get from the locker room to the court before the game. ... Manu Ginobili, Prigioni's teammate with Argentina's national team, was held to eight points on 2-of-10 shooting.

Wolfpack overcomes 10-minute scoring drought to top Virginia

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Wolfpack overcomes 10-minute scoring drought to top Virginia

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- D.J. Funderburk scored 14 points before fouling out and North Carolina State overcame a second-half scoring drought of more than 10 minutes in a 53-51 victory against Virginia on Monday night.

C.J. Bryce added 13 points for the Wolfpack (14-5, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), including a jumper with 27 seconds left after allowing the shot clock to race to near 0:00. The victory ended an eight-game losing streak against the Cavaliers.

Viginia (12-6, 4-4) used a 15-0 run during the N.C. State scoring drought that lasted 10:13 to take a 46-42 lead, bringing the crowd at John Paul Jones Arena back into the game. But Jericole Hellems hit a 3-pointer for N.C. State with 3:38 left and, after a free throw by Mamadi Diakite for Virginia, Markell Johnson hit a 3-pointer and then Hellems' putback gave the Wolfpack a 50-47 lead.

Johnson and Bryce both missed the front end of one-and-one free throw opportunities, and Kihei Clark hit a pair for Virginia. Braxton Beverly made the first and missed the second for the Wolfpack with 7.2 seconds left, and the Cavaliers Casey Morsell was short on a contested 3 at the buzzer.

Clark led Virginia with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

The Wolfpack had used an 8-0 run to go ahead 42-31. Virginia helped out by going scoreless for more than 6 1/2 minutes. Francisco Caffaro, who had just been inserted into the game, ended the drought with 11:13 left.

BIG PICTURE

N.C. State: The Wolfpack seemed on their way to a solid victory until the drought, during which they were 1 for 8 from the field with five turnovers and repeatedly let the shot clock run down into single digits, forcing bad shots.

Virginia: In the Cavaliers' continuing search for scoring help, freshman Casey Morsell had as many as three field goals for the first time since a 65-56 victory against Navy on Dec. 29. He was 4 for 20 from the field in his last five games. He finished the night 4 for 9 and his buzzer-beater attempt was closely guarded.

UP NEXT

The Wolfpack remains on the road and plays at Georgia Tech on Saturday.

The Cavaliers go on the road and play at Wake Forest on Sunday.

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Despite place in standings, Wizards believe playoffs aren't a pipe dream

Despite place in standings, Wizards believe playoffs aren't a pipe dream

WASHINGTON -- This may be the most realistic and self-aware Wizards team we have seen in a while. It wasn't long ago they had a penchant for talking big about what they believed they could accomplish. Nowadays, knowing where they are in the standings, their expectations are much more measured.

They know they are 12th in the Eastern Conference, even after beating the Pistons on Monday. They know their 14-28 record, which is 14 games under .500 and has them on pace to win 27 total games, isn't good.

But the Wizards are allowed to dream and they say making the playoffs is still something they would like to do.

"That's the goal, that's every day for us. [It's] in the back of my mind," shooting guard Bradley Beal said.

"I watch the games, I watch the standings and everything. We're not talking about it," head coach Scott Brooks said. "If that comes into play [we'll see]. The seventh and eighth seeds, the records aren't great."

There is certainly a case for that. The two teams currently occupying the bottom two playoff spots in the East have sub-.500 records. The seventh-ranked Magic are 20-23 and the Brooklyn Nets are in eighth with an 18-24 mark.

Last season, the Charlotte Hornets held up the Eastern Conference playoff bracket with a losing record as the eighth seed. They went 39-43, not good but still a much better pace than the Wizards are currently on. To win 39 games, they would have to go 25-16 the rest of the way.

Though they have shown some positive signs, going 4-4 in their last eight games, that would require going to a completely different level in the second half of the season. Still, there is no harm in maintaining their goals.

Beal, for one, has envisioned a way it can happen.

"Especially once All-Star hits, that second half is just flying. We have to tighten up and try to get some wins here before the break because that's usually the time when teams like to ease off the pedal a little bit. We have to take advantage of [that], that advantage of our schedule, take care of our bodies, and rally together," he said.

If the Wizards really, really wanted to go for the playoffs, they could try to add some pieces before the Feb. 6 trade deadline. But that should not be expected. In fact, this year's deadline for the Wizards likely won't be affected much at all by the playoff picture.

It's hard to envision them being buyers and they may not be able to be true sellers, either, due to injuries and other factors. Also, there is a belief in the front office that keeping a close distance in the playoff race could be a nice incentive for their young players, that having something to work for later in the season could help their development.

If the Wizards did somehow make the playoffs or even get close, that would be quite the surprise and it would say a lot about the direction of the organization. But in the long-term, it would seem to be more beneficial if they continue on their current course and end up with a top draft pick.

The Wizards right now have the fifth-worst record in the league. That would net them a lot of ping-pong balls for the draft lottery.

It seems likely that's where this season will end. But it doesn't hurt to try.

"We just want to play. We just want to finish the second half of the season playing better," Brooks said.

The Wizards are only 4 1/2 games back in the playoff race. Stranger things have happened.

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