NEW YORK — Before Phil Jackson can begin reshaping their future, the New York Knicks are trying to make something of this season.
Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. had 20 and the Knicks beat the Milwaukee Bucks 115-94 on Saturday, giving them a season-high six straight victories as they prepare to welcome Jackson back to the franchise.
“We’ve got to really focus in on what’s the task at hand, and that’s still trying to make this push and not even looking forward to next season at this point,” Anthony said.
Amare Stoudemire and J.R. Smith each scored 15 points for the Knicks, who easily ended their daytime woes by pounding the team with the NBA’s worst record.
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New York is 3½ games behind Atlanta for the final postseason spot in the Eastern Conference. But the playoff push has taken a back seat to the news that Jackson was coming in to run the Knicks’ front office — except in the locker room.
“I think our focus is solely on what we have to accomplish to make the playoffs, to be honest,” center Tyson Chandler said. “I know it’s a lot going on, but as an athlete, you don’t pay too much attention to it, because it’s out of your control, anyway.”
The Knicks will introduce the 11-time champion as a coach Tuesday morning. Jackson will find a team playing its best basketball of a disappointing season.
The Knicks shot 55 percent, led by as many as 25 points and have won six in a row by double digits for the first time since November 1969.
PHILADELPHIA — Mike Conley scored 19 points and Zach Randolph had 14 to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 103-77 victory, sending the 76ers to a franchise-tying 20th straight loss.
The Sixers can set the team mark with a loss Monday night at Indiana.
The Sixers (15-51) also lost 20 straight games from Jan. 9, 1973 to Feb. 11, 1973 in a 9-73 season. The NBA record for consecutive losses in a season is 26 set by the 2010-11 Cavaliers.
Michael Carter-Williams led the Sixers with 23 points and Thaddeus Young had 20.
“This is not slit-your-wrist time. This is not even close to that,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said before the game. “This is about building a program and understanding the short-term pain for a lot of long-term gain.
• Jason Collins has been signed for the rest of the season by the Brooklyn Nets. The NBA’s first openly gay player had finished his second 10-day contract, which meant the Nets had to sign him for the remainder of the season if they wanted to keep him.
• Sam Lacey, a former NBA All-Star who spent 11 of his 13 seasons with the Kansas City Kings organization, has died. He was 66. When he retired, Lacey had amassed 10,303 career points and 9,687 rebounds, which ranks 42nd on the NBA career list.
• Paul George scored 30 points and the Indiana Pacers rallied from a 25-point second-quarter deficit to defeat the host Detroit Pistons 112-104 in overtime. Indiana leads Miami by 3½ games in the race for the top seed in the East.
• Joakim Noah had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Taj Gibson scored seven of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and the host Chicago Bulls beat the Sacramento Kings 94-87. Ex-Husky Isaiah Thomas led the Kings with 26 points.
• John Wall scored 33 points, Drew Gooden got 11 of his 21 in the final quarter and the host Washington Wizards overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Brooklyn 101-94 and move past the Nets for fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
• Paul Millsap had 24 points and 11 rebounds, Jeff Teague added 15 points and 10 assists and the host Atlanta Hawks rallied to beat the Denver Nuggets 97-92 and earn their third straight win.