By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Knicks used a third-quarter scoring burst to beat cross-river rivals the New Jersey Nets 111-100 at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday for their seventh win in eight games.
Amare Stoudemire led the way for New York with 35 points, while Wilson Chandler scored 27 and Raymond Felton added 21 to lift the Knicks (10-9) above .500 for the season.
Nets center Brook Lopez was an unstoppable force inside, scoring 36 points for New Jersey (6-12), who in the end could not keep pace with the run-and-gun Knicks.
"Any kind of step forward, we'll take," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni told reporters. "But we're 10-9. We have to be realistic. We are playing better but we can see we can still get a lot better."
New York blew the game open with a 25-8 run that was sparked by point guard Felton just before the midway point of the third quarter.
The Knicks trailed 65-63 before pulling away with a fastbreak spree, during which Felton scored eight points and made a dazzling assist.
New York outscored the Nets 33-15 in the quarter as the Nets were held back by a knee injury that sidelined scoring guard Devin Harris.
In one sizzling stretch, Felton drove for a layup, stole the ball from Anthony Morrow to drive in for another lay-in and then drove the lane again before dishing off to Stoudemire for a slam dunk during a run of eight unanswered points.
"I think he's playing great," Chandler, who hauled in a game-high 11 rebounds, said about Felton, who joined the team this season. "He had to get used to the system, get used to the players."
Stoudemire benefited from some nice interior passing from Felton as the two new Knick additions continued to gel on the court.
"We are starting to get the chemistry down," Stoudemire said about the New York Knicks offense. "Ray and I are starting to get down the pick-and-roll."
The Knicks had not been over the .500 mark this late in a season in nearly six years.
(Editing by Frank Pingue)