ORLANDO, Fla., April 5 (UPI) -- Carmelo Anthony paced New York with 19 points Thursday and the Knicks pulled away in the second half to defeat listless Orlando 96-80.
The Knicks moved 1 1/2 games in front of idle Milwaukee for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Orlando has lost five in a row, its longest such streak in five years.
Seven different New York players made at least one 3-pointer and the Knicks shot 13-of-25 from long range.
Dwight Howard, who had missed two games with back spasms, did not score a point in the first half and wound up with just eight. Howard has reportedly asked Orlando management to fire Coach Stan Van Gundy, a report that Van Gundy said Thursday he believed.
Jason Richardson led Orlando with 16 points and Glen Davis had 15.