Knicks take playoff push to the road

( - Carmelo Anthony is still confident the New York Knicks can make a push toward the playoffs despite the recent loss.

Anthony was asked after Sunday's 106-100 setback to the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden if having an eight-game winning streak cut short puts any doubt in reaching the postseason.

"Nah, nah, no doubt," said Anthony, whose Knicks will start a five-game road trip Tuesday. "They beat us, they won the game, we lost it. This road trip is crucial for us. We wanted to win tonight; just get out on the road on a positive note. As of late we've been playing great basketball. We want to take that momentum to this road trip and see what happens from there."

The trip begins Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers followed by visits to Sacramento, Phoenix, Golden State and Utah. The trip will most likely define what chances the Knicks have at making a playoff run, as they are 2 1/2 games behind struggling Atlanta for the eighth spot in the East with 12 to play. The Hawks have lost three in a row.

The Knicks played to a 61-46 halftime lead versus the Cavaliers, but came out sloppy in the second half. The Cavaliers recorded a 60-39 advantage over the final 24 minutes to stun the MSG crowd and send the Knicks to their first loss since March 3 at Detroit.

"I thought we started out well. We came in after the halftime, I thought we were playing pretty good basketball, then we went dry in the third. We came out in the third so slow," said Knicks coach Mike Woodson.

Cleveland guard Jarrett Jack scored a season-high 31 points, while Anthony netted 32 points and J.R. Smith added 18 for the Knicks. Anthony, last season's scoring champion, is second in the NBA with 28.1 points and is averaging 30.4 ppg in his past 19 games.

The Cavs outscored the Knicks 40-24 in the paint, and Anthony said the Cavaliers weren't letting him get to the post. The Cavs used double teams, but still couldn't prevent Anthony from reaching the 30-point mark for a third time in the previous five games.

New York will try to extend its road winning streak to five games and is 13-20 outside the Garden this season. On the injury front for the Knicks, guard Iman Shumpert is questionable with flu-like symptoms and did not play versus the Cavaliers.

Meanwhile, the Lakers hope to build on their recent win, a 103-94 victory over the slumping Orlando Magic on Sunday.

Jordan Hill had a career-high 28 points along with 13 rebounds in his first start since Jan. 17. Hill made 9-of-15 shots and sank 10-of-13 free throws. Nick Young and Jodie Meeks scored 26 and 13 points, respectively, for Los Angeles, which halted a four-game slide and won for the second time in its previous nine games.

"With 13 games left it is important to get on a little streak. When Jordan Hill plays this way we're better. We won one, we're on a roll," said Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni.

The Lakers capitalized on 20 Orlando turnovers by converting them into 21 points. Lakers veteran guard Steve Nash did not play versus the Magic. He had 11 assists in 19 minutes off the bench Friday night against Washington after missing the previous 15 games because of chronic nerve damage in his back.

Nash is doubtful versus New York and so is center Pau Gasol (illness). Gasol had just six points and two rebounds in less than 19 minutes on Sunday. He leads the Lakers in points (17.5) and rebounds (9.8).

The Lakers are 12-22 at home and will visit Milwaukee and Minnesota after this stay at Staples Center.

Los Angeles faced New York back on Jan. 26 at Madison Square Garden and suffered a 110-103 loss. Anthony had 35 points in that one after pouring in 62 the previous night. Meeks countered Anthony with 24 points for the Lakers, who have still won 10 of the last 13 meetings with the Knicks.

New York has lost six straight and nine of its last 10 at the Lakers.