Carmelo Anthony scored 33 points and the New York Knicks defeated the New Jersey Nets 104-95 to hold on to the seventh playoff spot in the National Basketball Association’s Eastern Conference.
The Knicks (33-29) are a game ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers (32-30), who remain in the eighth and final playoff spot after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-87. The Milwaukee Bucks (29-32) are ninth, 3 1/2 games behind New York after a 121-112 loss to the Washington Wizards.
With four games remaining in the regular season, the Knicks are 3 1/2 games behind the Atlantic Division lead held by the Boston Celtics, who topped the Orlando Magic 102-98.
Gerald Wallace scored 21 points and Sundiata Gaines contributed 18 for the Nets (22-41).
In the Western Conference, the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks (35-28) dented the Houston Rockets’ playoff chances with a 117-110 win. Dirk Nowitzki scored 31 of his 35 points in the second half.
The Denver Nuggets (34-28) lost 104-98 to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Oklahoma City Thunder won 109-97 against the Phoenix Suns (32-30), while the Utah Jazz (33-30) beat the Portland Trail Blazers 112-91.
Dallas is sixth in the Western Conference standings, a half game ahead of the Nuggets, who are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Jazz, who hold the final playoff place. Phoenix and Houston are a half game further back in ninth and 10th place.
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