CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Boris Diaw scored 20 points, Stephen Jackson added 19 despite a sore hamstring, and the Charlotte Bobcats provided more misery for the slumping New York Knicks with a 114-106 victory Saturday night to complete an impressive two-day stretch.
A night after a stunning comeback win in Boston, the Bobcats sent the Knicks to their sixth straight loss despite 36 points from Carmelo Anthony to remain in contention for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Bobcats built a 20-point third-quarter lead and withstood an Anthony-fueled rally that got New York within 110-106 with 1:34 left. The Knicks didn’t score again to fall to 7-12 since acquiring Anthony and Chauncey Billups last month.
Landry Fields added 16 points in a new role coming off the bench for New York. But he and Billups, who had 14 points and 10 assists on 6-of-16 shooting, missed jumpers late as the Knicks lost for the ninth time in 10 games amid woes on both ends of the floor.
Charlotte, the NBA’s second-lowest scoring team coming in at 92.8 points a game, shot 47 percent and held a 46-39 rebounding advantage. The Bobcats entered the night two games behind Indiana for eighth place in the East.
The Knicks, who once appeared a lock for the postseason, shot 40 percent and saw their lead over Charlotte fall to 4½ games.
Jackson, hobbled by a strained left hamstring that’s left him in and out of the lineup for the past month, had a key tip in and a layup late despite picking up his 15th technical foul in an uneven performance.
But seven other players reached double figures for the Bobcats, who rallied from 13 points down in the fourth quarter in Boston on Friday.
The Knicks are going in the opposite direction.
With coach Mike D’Antoni saying his team lacks “pizazz,” he made lineup changes to try to jump-start New York’s struggling offense. Center Ronny Turiaf (ankle) was sidelined and Fields was sent to the bench for a smaller, quicker lineup.
Toney Douglas joined Billups in the backcourt and got the defensive assignment on Charlotte point guard D.J. Augustin. D’Antoni said it wasn’t an indictment on Fields, but that they needed “more speed” in the lineup and somebody to “hound Augustin a little bit more.”
Shawne Williams also moved into the starting lineup, and while the Knicks showed spark early on offense, they allowed the Bobcats to score almost at will.
Charlotte had a season-high 64 points at halftime in building a 13-point lead littered with open looks and second-chance points.
D’Antoni started Fields and Shelden Williams to start the second half, but the Bobcats’ lead soon swelled to 75-55 on Diaw’s 3-pointer.
The combustible Jackson then helped the Knicks get back in it.
Jackson, who went more than a month since his last technical foul, got his 15th and moved within one of an automatic suspension. Referee Dan Crawford had no other choice when Jackson punched the air and yelled after no foul was called on his missed shot.
As has been his custom since taking over from Larry Brown, coach Paul Silas immediately yanked Jackson. Anthony then got hot and Jackson tossed up two bad shots — one an airball — when he returned as the Knicks got within 10 points.
Anthony, who hit 13 of 25 shots, hit consecutive 3-pointers to fuel the Knicks’ fourth-quarter spurt that proved to not be enough even against a banged-up team.
The Bobcats played a second straight game without sixth man Tyrus Thomas (bruised ribs), and Joel Przybilla (knee) and Eduardo Najera (shoulder) were also out.
Notes: Bobcats assistant Charles Oakley missed his third straight game and Silas said he’ll undergo a procedure next week for his back injury. Silas expects Oakley to miss another week. … Ex-Bobcats F Derrick Brown, waived right after the trade deadline, declined to talk about his departure and had little to say about his limited role since being claimed by New York. “That’s how the NBA is,” Brown said. … Silas wasn’t surprised the Knicks are struggling after the Anthony deal. “That’s kind of normal,” he said. “Any change is difficult. In time, it will be fine.”