The New York Knicks extended their National Basketball Association winning streak to 12 games with a 125-120 road victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The only two seasons in which the Knicks had longer winning streaks, they reached the NBA Finals.
Carmelo Anthony scored 36 points yesterday at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City as the Knicks (50-26) logged 50 wins for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.
“We knew they were going to make runs, they’ve got their crowd behind them, but we kept our composure,” Anthony said in a televised interview. “It was a great team win for us.”
The Knicks won a franchise-record 18 regular-season games in a row from Oct. 24 through Nov. 11, 1969, the season in which they secured the first of their two NBA titles. New York won 15 straight games from March 1 to April 2, 1994 and that season reached the NBA Finals before losing to the Houston Rockets.
The Knicks had most recently won 12 straight regular-season games when they ended the 1992-93 season with five victories and began the next campaign with seven more.
“We’re having fun, that’s the most important thing,” said Anthony, who moved past Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant as the NBA’s points-per-game leader at 28.44. “We’re doing the little things and everyone is playing their part.”
The Knicks lead the Brooklyn Nets (44-32) by six games in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic division, and is second in the conference behind the Miami Heat (60-16). The Nets and Heat didn’t play yesterday.
Oklahoma City is second in the Western Conference with a 56-21 mark, one game behind the San Antonio Spurs.
New York has six regular-season games remaining, beginning April 9 at home against the Washington Wizards. It also hosts the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks, and faces the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers and Charlotte Bobcats on the road.
Indiana is third in the Eastern Conference with a 48-29 mark, followed by Brooklyn, Chicago, Atlanta and Boston. The Bulls lost yesterday to the Detroit Pistons 99-85, while the Celtics beat the Wizards 107-96.
The Los Angeles Clippers yesterday clinched the first division title in the franchise’s 42-year history with a 109-95 win against the Los Angeles Lakers. Chris Paul had 24 points and 12 assists for the Clippers (51-26), who ended the Lakers’ five-year reign atop the Pacific Division and swept the season series for the first time since 1974-75.
The Memphis Grizzlies and Bobcats are now the only two current NBA franchises to have never won a division title. The Grizzlies improved to 52-25 -- the West’s fourth-best record -- with yesterday’s 89-87 win over the Sacramento Kings, yet are five games behind San Antonio in the Southwest Division.