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Originally published March 19, 2014 at 9:36 PM | Page modified March 19, 2014 at 10:27 PM

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Knicks win seventh straight as Jackson makes debut as team president


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NEW YORK — Long after Phil Jackson acknowledged the cheering fans with a thumbs-up and then a wave, there was one more standing ovation inside Madison Square Garden.

This one went to the Knicks, a far cry from the way they were treated at home earlier this season.

Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points and New York opened the Jackson era by beating the Indiana Pacers 92-86 Wednesday night for its season-high seventh straight victory.

With their new team president watching from a midcourt seat, the Knicks dominated the first half, then pulled away after the Eastern Conference leaders finally got on track in the second.

“With a guy like that around it creates a winning mentality, it creates an atmosphere that’s pretty golden, and we’ve got to capitalize on that,” Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire said.

Fans stood for Jackson in the first quarter and were on their feet again in the final minute to watch the Knicks beat the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year.

“There’s energy in the city. Bringing Phil back is huge for this franchise, I think,” coach Mike Woodson said. “But I’ve got to give a lot of credit to those guys in the locker room, too, because again, we’re battling. We’ve dug a hole, and we’re trying to dig our way out of the hole.”

Lance Stephenson had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Pacers.

Notes

D.J. Augustin scored 20 points and Taj Gibson had 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 102-94 win in Philadelphia, handing the 76ers their 22nd straight loss.

The Sixers, who got 17 points and seven assists from former Huskies standout Tony Wroten Jr., are four losses shy of matching the NBA record for the longest season losing streak. The Cleveland Cavaliers set the record of 26 consecutive losses in the 2010-11 season. The Vancouver Grizzlies (1995-96), Denver Nuggets (1997-98) and Charlotte Bobcats (2011-12) each lost 23 straight.

Rajon Rondo hit two running baseline shots in the last two minutes and the Boston Celtics capitalized on the absence of LeBron James to beat the visiting Miami Heat 101-96. One night after scoring 43 points in a 100-96 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, James sat out the game with back spasms and the Heat lost for the first time in its three games without him this season.

Rondo finished with nine points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds as Boston stopped a five-game losing streak.

Avery Bradley led Boston with 23 points and had a career-high six three-pointers.

The Heat was led by Dwyane Wade with 17 points.

Tony Parker scored 25 points, Kawhi Leonard had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and visiting San Antonio pulled away from the Los Angeles Lakers, winning 125-109 for their 11th consecutive victory.

Danny Green scored 16 points and Tim Duncan had 12 points and 16 rebounds for the NBA-leading Spurs, who haven’t lost since Feb. 21. They’ve won 14 of 15.

Kevin Love scored 35 points, including the go-ahead basket in overtime, Ricky Rubio had 22 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds, and the Minnesota Timberwolves blew several leads before hanging on for a 123-122 victory over visiting Dallas.

Aaron Brooks, a product of Franklin High, had 27 points and a career-high 17 assists to lead Denver past visiting Detroit, 118-109.



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