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Knicks rout Hawks to take winning record to break

Amare Stoudemire scored 23 points, leading the New York Knicks into the All-Star break with a winning record after a 102-90 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.

Wilson Chandler added 20 points and Danilo Gallinari had 17 for the Knicks, who at 28-26 matched their average victory total for the last five full seasons. They didn't even earn their 28th victory last season until April 6 and haven't been above .500 this late in a season since they finished 48-34 in 2000-01.

Raymond Felton finished with 13 points and 11 assists as the Knicks controlled the second half and beat Atlanta for the first time in three meetings this season.

Marvin Williams scored 17 points for the Hawks, who lost for the third time in four games and fell a game behind Orlando for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Mike Bibby had 15 points, and Al Horford had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

It was the first meeting since the Hawks' Marvin Williams and New York's Shawne Williams, no relation, were suspended for throwing punches near the end of Atlanta's 111-102 victory on Jan. 28.

Stoudemire has since offered some tough talk about Horford, and there were words exchanged between Felton and Horford late in the game after the Knicks point guard fouled Atlanta's All-Star center. Felton was called for a technical foul, a few minutes after Horford got one for complaining he was fouled by Stoudemire while making a jumper.

Gallinari also was whistled for a tech for grabbing Bibby's foot as he was on the floor after getting fouled.

New York hit three 3-pointers, two by rookie Landry Fields, in the first 6 minutes of the second half to build a double-digit lead, and the Knicks were never challenged from there.

The Knicks are one of the league's most improved teams and will match their victory total from last season with their first victory after the All-Star break. In the meantime, team president Donnie Walsh will see if there's a deal to be made before next Thursday's trade deadline, be it a blockbuster for Denver's Carmelo Anthony or a lesser deal that could fill another hole.

"I like the team that we have right now. I like the position we're in as far as our cap, but I do think there's some things that we could use on this team that would help us, so that's why I'm out there," Walsh said. "Otherwise I'd be saying we're OK, and I haven't said that."

They were finally good enough against the Hawks after nine-point losses in each of the first two meetings.

The Knicks held the Hawks to 33 percent shooting in the first quarter, dominating the end of the period to take a 26-19 lead. It grew to 37-23 on Chandler's 3-pointer with 8:50 remaining in the half, but the Hawks cut the deficit in half and were down 52-45 at the break.

Notes: Knicks C Ronny Turiaf and assistant coach Herb Williams, and the Hawks' Maurice Evans and Etan Thomas took part in former Knicks star John Starks' celebrity bowling tournament on Tuesday. The money raised from the event funded 10 academic grants for disadvantaged high school students in the tri-state area and Starks' hometown of Tulsa, Okla. ... Shawne Williams (25) and Herb Williams (53) celebrated birthdays.