The New York Knicks lived to fight another battle on Sunday, as Carmelo Anthony knocked down a game high 41 points while a one-handed Amar’e Stoudemire returned to the starting lineup and racked up a double-double with 20 points as New York squeaked past the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden 89-87. The two forwards were the only players on the Knicks roster who scored in double-figures; as the pair scored 61 of their team’s 89 points in the victory. The win; their first Playoff victory since 2001, will send them back to Miami trailing their opponents in the match-up by a 3-1 margin.
LeBron James knocked down 27 points for the visitors while Dwyane Wade added 22 points in the loss; Wade took the final shot of the game but failed to sink a 24 foot trey, with two seconds to play and New York held on for the win. The final 12 minutes of play would see the teams exchanging the lead throughout the period; with the momentum just going the way of the home team in the final few seconds.
Although Stoudemire returned to the hardwood on Sunday and had an amazing performance; with his left hand completely wrapped in protective padding, the club suffered yet another injury during the victory as veteran starting point guard Baron Davis dislocated his right knee-cap during the third quarter and was done for the game.
With Davis most likely out for game five, New York is hoping that Jeremy Lin can make his first appearance in the Playoffs after having knee surgery. If he is unable to go that would leave the squad with either veteran Mike Bibby or Toney Douglas as the starter in the next game. Bibby’s best days are far behind him while Douglas; who began the season as a starter has not played in a while.
Neither team were impressive on the offensive end in the opening period; with the quarter ending after Anthony hit a pair at the line with seven seconds to play giving the home team a 20-18 advantage heading into the second. Miami appeared poised to celebrate the series ending celebration in the next period as they would surge ahead by as many as 10 points in the quarter. New York was able to cut their deficit by the end of the period and as the contest reached the half Miami was on top 44-38.
Anthony knotted up the game at 52-52 with 4:43 remaining in the third; while the Knicks would soon get the upper hand and hold onto it for the rest of the period; they never went ahead by more than six points. James buried a 25 foot trey with ten seconds left in the period and New York would be ahead 64-61 as the quarter concluded. The two teams spent most of the final 12 minutes of play with the score knotted up. Anthony would score the eventual game winning point when he was fouled on a three-point shot attempt with 25 seconds on the clock by Shane Battier. Anthony could have given his team a nine-point margin but hit just one shot at the line making it an 88-84 contest. Although the Heat had chances to win or send the game to overtime; they were unable to get it done prolonging the series.
The two teams will be facing each other in Miami for game five of the match-up.