The Knicks kept a tenuous hold on the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference defeating Atlanta, 113-112, behind a sterling offensive effort from Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire.
Anthony scored 39 points on 14-of-32 shooting, while Stoudemire, in his second game back from a back injury, looked ready for the postseason with 22 points and 12 rebounds.
Had the Knicks (34-30) lost, they would've dropped to the No. 8 seed behind the 76ers by 1/2 game. Philadelphia (33-30) is idle today, but will travel to New Jersey to play the long-eliminated Nets. The win also kept alive outside hopes that the Knicks can pass Orlando (36-27) for the No. 6 seed. New York would have to win out, while the Magic, without Dwight Howard, would need to lose their remaining three games. The Knicks hold the tiebreaker.
Sunday became a shootout in Knicks interim head coach Mike Woodson's former home of Atlanta. Tyson Chandler sat out the game, and the Knicks' defense clearly suffered. They allowed 65 at the half and trailed by five. But Anthony, Stoudemire and a surprising performance from Landry Fields allowed them to outscore the Hawks.
Fields had 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting, including 3-of-3 from behind the arc. Marvin Williams led the Hawks with 29 points and 11 boards, but it was his mistake at the end of the game that cost Atlanta an opportunity to win.
The Knicks led by one point, 113-112, with 8.2 seconds left on the clock. Anthony shot a tough 3-pointer off an out-of-bounds play which was rebounded by the Hawks. Williams took the resulting out-of-bounds play hard to the basket, but the clock expired before he could attempt a dunk. Though he may have been fouled, it wouldn't matter with the clock already expired.
Chandler sat out ostensibly to rest up for the playoffs, though he has recently dealt with a sore knee and an injured wrist among a number of minor injuries this season.
The Hawks are currently the No. 5 seed in the East. They have a better record than the No. 4-seed Celtics (37-27), but Boston has already clinched the Atlantic Division. Atlanta trails Miami, who has already locked up the division in the Southeast.
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