With diet back to normal, Anthony helps Knicks win

If Carmelo Anthony keeps eating right, the New York Knicks might

just be a contender for the NBA title.

After ending a two-week fast that caused him some sluggishness

on the basketball court, Anthony has resumed eating normally, and

it showed Thursday.

The star forward scored 26 points – 18 of them in the first half

– to help the Knicks beat the Detroit Pistons 102-87 in the third

regular-season NBA game to be played in the O2 Arena.

”I felt better than I was the last couple of games,” Anthony

said. ”I’m back eating right. Eating what I’m supposed to be

eating.”

Although it was an away game for the Knicks (25-13), they

certainly had the crowd behind them while playing at the same venue

in which Anthony helped the United States win the Olympic gold

medal in August.

Just playing the Pistons (14-25) at the O2 brought back some

happy memories.

”It felt good out there,” Anthony said. ”I definitely had

some flashbacks out there. Running out there on the court, just

being in the O2 Arena.”

And with the gold medal already in his possession, he’s now

thinking about an NBA title.

”I’ve been on some good teams … but as far as being a

complete team from top to bottom, this is the best team I’ve ever

played on,” said Anthony, who has now scored at least 20 points in

25 straight games, extending the longest such streak of his

career.

He almost managed to hit the 20-point mark in the first two

quarters alone.

”He got off to such a hot start, and then he just kind of

played as the game came to him,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said.

”He was getting double-teamed and I thought he did a great job in

sacrificing the basketball, which he has to do.”

Even Pistons coach Lawrence Frank wasn’t surprised.

”You know going in, there’s no secrets, he’s the best

first-quarter scorer in the league,” Frank said.

Amare Stoudemire added 17 points for the Knicks and J.R. Smith

scored 16. Will Bynum led the Pistons with 22 points.

After Tayshaun Prince netted a pair of free throws for the

opening points of the game, the Knicks went on tear.

Tyson Chandler started it off with a dunk, and Anthony soon

followed with a pair of 3-pointers sandwiched between Jason Kidd’s

3-pointer and Chris Copeland’s layup.

Iman Shumpert, in his season debut after recovering from knee

surgery, nailed another 3-pointer soon after to complete the 16-0

run and put the Knicks in control.

”The Knicks got off to a great start,” Bynum said. ”We were

kind of playing catch up from then on.”

Trailing 56-41 at the half, the Pistons mounted a third-quarter

comeback. They scored 10 straight points midway through the period

amid a 16-2 run to cut the lead to 67-63.

Anthony ended the run with a pass rather than another

basket.

The Knicks forward drilled a pass across the baseline to Steve

Novak, who nailed a jumper. Stoudemire then sank a free throw

before Smith hit a jump shot after running the court after a

rebound. Anthony finished off the third quarter with a lay-in to

make it 75-63.

In the fourth, the Pistons briefly cut the lead to single digits

when Bynum scored seven straight points to make it 83-75, but the

Knicks pulled away again – this time for good.

”We came here to win a game, so it’s very, very

disappointing,” Frank said. ”This is not a vacation. We’re not

tourists. We came here to play a competition … on an

international stage, which is a privilege and an honor to be

selected, so it’s disappointing that we came up short and didn’t

play our best.”

The Knicks had won only three of their last eight games heading

into Thursday’s action, but they now have won two straight and next

host the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.

For the Pistons, who next host the Boston Celtics on Sunday,

it’s their second loss in a row. But they have still won five of

the last eight.

The crowd at the O2 cheered loudly at times, but there were

stretches of silence during some portions of the game. There was

even a quiet moment before the game started, though it appeared to

be an accident.

With Stoudemire and Prince on the court before the game speaking

to the crowd with a microphone, the sound went out just as Prince

was thanking the fans for their support.

The fans let out a round of boos, but they soon started cheering

again as the game got under way.

In the second quarter, the referees had to resort to the video

replay to make a flagrant foul call on Pistons forward Austin Daye.

With Chandler driving toward the hoop, Daye hit him hard and

knocked him to the court.

Chandler made both free throws and Smith added a 3-pointer about

10 seconds later to make it 44-24 midway through the quarter.

NOTES: Knicks fan and movie director Spike Lee made the trip to

London and sat courtside as usual, wearing a blue suit with an

orange tie. … The Knicks’ game against the Nets on Monday –

Martin Luther King Jr. Day – at Madison Square Garden will mark the

14th consecutive year in which the team is playing on a holiday,

and 27th overall. … Several soccer players came to the O2 to

watch, including former Arsenal great Thierry Henry. … Former NBA

players Bill Laimbeer and John Starks also were at the game.