Knicks kick off Jackson era with seventh straight win
New York Knicks power forward Amar'e Stoudemire (1) controls the ball against Indiana Pacers power forward David West (21) during the third quarter of a game at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks defeated the Pacers 92-86. Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK - Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points and Amare Stoudemire tallied 21 as the resurgent New York Knicks opened the Phil Jackson era with their seventh-straight win on Wednesday.
Jackson got his first look at the Knicks in just his second day on the job and they didn't disappoint their new president as they beat the first-place Indiana Pacers 92-86.
The 68-year-old Jackson received a standing ovation at Madison Square Garden during the pre-game introductions and it just got better for the crowd of 19,812 from there. New York took the lead halfway through the opening quarter and they never lost it after that.
Centre Tyson Chandler helped their late season National Basketball Association playoff push with a game-high 14 rebounds in the win.
The Knicks are now just four games back of Atlanta for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot with 14 contests to go.
Jackson was introduced as president on Tuesday and pledged to help turn the struggling franchise around.
He visited the team's practice facility Wednesday to talk with coach Mike Woodson and met with the players in the locker room before the game.
The hiring was expected after reports surfaced last week that Knicks owner Jim Dolan was aggressively trying to sign Jackson to a contract.
Jackson, who signed a five-year deal, wouldn't commit to a timeline on how long it would take to reverse the Knicks' fortunes. New York hasn't won an NBA title since 1973 and last made the league finals in 1999.
Anthony's future status with the Knicks is uncertain after he said before Jackson's hiring that he might test the free agent market after the season.
But Jackson said Tuesday he hopes Anthony remains with the Knicks and Dolan reiterated that on Wednesday.
"The most important thing to Carmelo is winning championships," Dolan said. "Our job is to convince him to stay. So bringing in Phil certainly helps."
Dolan called the hiring of the Jackson "almost accidental" on Wednesday.
He said they talked informally for two hours at a December party of a mutual friend, music mogul Irving Azoff.
"The timing was almost accidental. I didn't plan it," Dolan said.
"I had a chance to meet him at a party in Los Angeles.
"We ended up getting together for a couple of hours. I really learned a lot in those two hours. It snowballed from there.
"His knowledge of basketball, the way he explained the game to me ... I never had anybody teach me that way."
Lance Stephenson tallied 21 points and nine rebounds and Roy Hibbert finished with 20 points for the Pacers, who had their four-game win streak halted.
Indiana star Paul George was held to 17 points on four-of-17 shooting from the field. The Pacers also went five-of-23 from beyond the arc.
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