Knicks stays alive, Sixers push Bulls to the brink
Carmelo Anthony scored 41 points, Amare Stoudemire had 20 points and 10 rebounds in his return from a cut hand, and the New York Knicks snapped an NBA-record, 13-game postseason losing streak by beating the Miami Heat 89-87 Sunday in Game 4 of their first-round series to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Anthony made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 54.5 seconds left as the Knicks overcame another serious injury to win a playoff game for the first time since April 29, 2001. Baron Davis dislocated his right kneecap in the third quarter, just as the Knicks were making the run that got them back into the game after a dismal first half.
LeBron James scored 27 for the Heat, who will try to close it out in Game 5 at home on Wednesday. Dwyane Wade had 22, but missed a 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left that would have given Miami a lengthy rest before starting the second round.
Stoudemire gave the Knicks a huge spark, playing with padding over his hand just six days after badly cutting it when he punched a fire extinguisher case after a Game 2 loss in Miami.
While Carmelo was simply sensational. He shot 15-of-29 from the field, after he made only 34.4 percent of his shots in the first three games.
The series was on pace to be one of the most lopsided in NBA history through three games, but this one was within four points the entire fourth quarter, the crowd at Madison Square Garden growing louder with every play that moved the Knicks closer to their first playoff win in 11 years.
Mike Bibby's 3-pointer with 1:23 left snapped an 81-all tie, but the Heat called timeout and ran a play that freed James for a wide-open 3 that tied it again seven seconds later. On the Knicks' next possession, Anthony came far beyond the arc to receive the ball after JR Smith picked up his dribble, then dribbled forward and pulled up for a 3-pointer that made it 87-84 with 54.5 to play.
The Heat turned it over on their next possession when Chris Bosh's pass sailed into the backcourt, and Anthony was fouled by Shane Battier attempting a 3-pointer. He made only one foul shot, and the Heat cut it to one again when James converted a three-point play while drawing Tyson Chandler's sixth foul.
Stoudemire made a free throw with 14 seconds left to make it 89-87, and Wade lost control of the ball driving into the middle on Miami's last possession. He regained it and dribbled to the corner for a 3-pointer that was off.
Stoudemire had surgery Wednesday to repair a muscle in his left hand and the Knicks had listed him as doubtful for Sunday, but he was back on the court during practice Friday and cleared to play in Game 4.
He was back in his usual spot as the last player introduced during starting lineups, getting a loud reception, and he quickly sparked the Knicks after their sluggish start.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers pushed the Chicago Bulls to the brink as they won their third straight game playoff game, beating the 89-82 on Sunday and take a commanding 3-1 series lead.
Spencer Hawes scored 22 points, Jrue Holiday had 20 points and Andre Iguodala added 14 points and 12 rebounds to put the Sixers one win away from joining the short list of eighth-seeded teams that have won a series against a No. 1 seed.
The short-handed Bulls played without Derrick Rose (torn ACL) and Joakim Noah (sprained ankle). Rose is out for the season and Noah is day-to-day for the rest of the series.
Holiday was sensational down the stretch after a rocky first 3 1/2 quarters. He missed his first five 3-point attempts until he nailed one to make it 77-73. He hit another the next time down for a seven-point lead to the delight of a roaring sellout crowd.
They were easily his biggest shots on a 7-of-23 night. He expects to hear the same noise in the next round.
"We have to play like it's Game 7," Holiday said. "We want to win in Chicago."
Game 5 is on Tuesday in Chicago.
(Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)