NEW YORK (AP) — Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks walked off the court, and for the first time in weeks it wasn’t with heads hanging.
The sound of boos that had provided the audio at Madison Square Garden was replaced by the voice of James Brown singing “I feel good!”
The Knicks finally got to feel that way again.
New York snapped its 16-game losing streak Monday, getting 24 points and nine rebounds from Anthony to beat the short-handed New Orleans Pelicans 99-92.
Jose Calderon made his biggest basket of a difficult first season in New York, a 3-pointer with 32 seconds left that gave the Knicks a four-point lead. That was enough to help them hold on for their first victory since Dec. 12 and end the longest single-season skid in franchise history.
“It’s tough, man. It’s a tough situation. We’re human, so we’re going to feel it,” Anthony said. “It’s definitely emotional when you’re losing games like that, but we’re sticking with it.”
Langston Galloway added 21 points for the Knicks, who improved the NBA’s worst record to 6-36 by ending a 12-game home losing streak.
Tyreke Evans had 23 points and nine rebounds for the Pelicans, who were still without Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday. They spotted the Knicks a 15-point lead, cut it to one in the final 2 minutes, but then couldn’t score again.
“They had lost a lot of games in a row and they just said, ‘Enough’s enough,'” Pelicans guard Quincy Pondexter said.
The Knicks hadn’t even been competitive lately, losing nine straight by double digits since a Dec. 27 overtime loss in Sacramento. But despite starting two players on 10-day contracts, they controlled this one most of the way.
Evans, who provided the go-ahead basket with 1.6 seconds left in the Pelicans’ 95-93 victory at Toronto on Sunday, brought them back Monday with a series of drives to the basket, the last one making it 93-92 with 1:56 to play.
Ryan Anderson missed a 3-pointer that would’ve given New Orleans the lead, and the Pelicans looked as though they would get the ball back when Galloway was losing his dribble out by the arc with the shot clock running down. But the ball got to Lou Amundson inside, who was fouled just before the shot clock expired.
The Knicks retained possession and got the ball to Calderon, whose shot from the corner was just his second basket in 10 attempts.
Galloway just signed his second 10-day deal. Amundson and Lance Thomas are near the end of their first, hoping they can stick around — and spark a turnaround.
“It’s a tough situation to be in,” Amundson said. “I think there’s a bunch of great guys here, they’re all good-character guys and they want to win, they want to do the right things, play the right way, but when you lose that many games it’s hard, you kind of let that negativity creep in. So if I can be part of changing that, it’s great.”
Back from a trip to London, where they were beaten by Milwaukee on Thursday, the Knicks won at Madison Square Garden for the first time since defeating Philadelphia on Nov. 22.
They had already surpassed their worst skid in one season of 12 straight defeats and were nearing the overall franchise record of 20 in a row over two seasons.
“Everybody looks at the Knicks’ roster and says they’re not talented. But, they’re working hard, so it was tough for us to overcome them tonight,” said Pelicans guard Eric Gordon, who had 20 points.
Pelicans: New Orleans finished 2-3 on its Eastern trip. … Anderson was 4 for 17, going 3 of 13 behind the arc. … Without Davis (sprained left toe) and Holiday (right ankle inflammation), the Pelicans were missing their leaders in points, rebounds and assists.
Knicks: New York hadn’t practiced since returning from London. The Knicks were supposed to practice Sunday, but it was canceled because of icy road conditions. … Cleanthony Early was inactive after coach Derek Fisher said the rookie turned his ankle working out Saturday.
ANOTHER STREAK SNAPPED
The Knicks had dropped their last four games on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. They improved to 19-10 on the holiday.
Pelicans: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.
Knicks: Visit Philadelphia on Wednesday.
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