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Knicks’ Carmelo: Beating Orlando ‘Got The Monkey Off Our Back’

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Carmelo, giving Orlando a basketball clinic. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Carmelo, giving Orlando a basketball clinic. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – Hours after saying the game was “almost a must win,” Carmelo Anthony pulled out all the stops in the Knicks’ 113-106 victory over the Orlando Magic on Monday.

“We wanted it bad enough … and we got it,” Anthony said after the game. “We did a great job, especially on the defensive end. You got to start from somewhere, and tonight was a starting point for us. It was a big win for us. We got out of the hole, got the monkey off our back.”

Chauncey Billups, who came to New York with Carmelo, agreed with his trade companion.

“It was a good win,” he said. “We stopped the bleeding.”

Anthony scored 39 points and added 10 rebounds as the Knicks snapped their six-game losing streak.

“He was so locked in,” Billups added. “He was grabbing extra rebounds, extra effort plays, steals, blocked shots. You knew that he wanted to win this game. He was not going to let us lose this game. When you get him focused like that on both ends, you’re talking about maybe the best player in basketball.”

The Knicks improved to 8-12 since acquiring Anthony from Denver. Though the questions about the deal have grown louder as the Knicks struggle, the All-Star forward showed why the team wanted him by scoring 33 points after halftime.

“You just draw a line in the sand, you’re gonna kick somebody’s a– tonight and then you just do it,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “With wins like this the team will come together.”

Despite being handed bad break after bad break, Orlando’s Dwight Howard revealed the Knicks had a little extra pep in their step.

“I think New York played with a lot more energy than the last game,” said Howard.

“When you’ve lost six in a row, you start getting hungry because starvation is kicking in,” added the Magic’s Jason Richardson. “They did everything possible to try to win. You do anything necessary to win.”

As for Carmelo’s “almost a must win” declaration?

“That is how I felt,” Anthony said. “That is how we felt as a team that it was a must win for us. We as a team backed it up tonight. We showed when we play with energy and intensity, a lot of things fall into place for us.”

Do the Knicks have what it takes to turn Monday night’s win into a streak? Make your prediction in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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