Carmelo Anthony likes to think of himself as the leader of the Knicks. And while he’s mostly come up short in this series, he finally showed his wares with an epic performance in a thrilling last-second 89-87 win over the Heat in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Anthony, who’s been bottled up most of the series, broke out with a game-high 41 points as he helped the Knicks stave off elimination via a sweep. Anthony shot 15-of-29 from the field, 10-of-14 from the foul line and added six rebounds and four assists.
“It was a great feeling to win at the Garden, especially with everything that’s been going on with the injuries to Shump, Amar’e and now Baron,” Anthony said.
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Offensively, the Knicks rode the hot hand of Anthony as he torched the Heat with 11 points in the third quarter. Anthony shot 5-of-7 in the quarter, as he helped turn around the game with a nine-point swing.
“[Interim head coach Mike Woodson] kept telling us to remain positive and stay confident [and] take one game at a time,” Anthony said. “We stayed competitive and came to play and were a little more focused because our backs were up against the wall.
“Looking at the guys at their lockers, mentally I could tell we were into this game. It’s just great that we all have managed to come together as a team.”
While Amar’e Stoudemire made a quick — and somewhat surprising — return, Baron Davis appeared to suffer a serious knee injury. It has been diagnosed as a dislocated knee cap.
“It was a last-minute decision because my hand was a severe situation,” Stoudemire said. “I came into the game thinking I had something to prove. … Especially with all the injuries we’ve had. I wanted to come out here and do whatever I can to help get a win.”
Stoudemire tallied 20 points, with six points and four rebounds in the opening quarter to set the tone for a game-long fight. Stoudemire also added 10 rebounds.
“It’s tough to see a player go down, and we’ve had a bunch this year,” Woodson said of Davis. “It’s a part of the game, but we looked at it from a positive standpoint because we have a group of guys who are hungry and somebody had to step up and make plays.”
“I dropped down to one knee and said a prayer,” Stoudemire said of the Davis injury. “I almost shed a tear to be honest.”
Knicks happy to break losing streak
The thrilling win helped the Knicks not only stave off a sweep but also snapped their NBA-record 13-straight playoff defeats.
“It feels great [to end the streak]. We all played well enough to win and get this series back to Miami,” said Stoudemire. “It’s hopefully the first of many now that we got over that hump and ended that streak.”
Woodson wasn’t ready to proclaim the Knicks back in the series, but he is happy they get to fight another day.
“Now we have this monkey off our backs and are still playing and we’ll see them Game 5. It was about time [to end the streak],” Woodson said. “This team is talented enough to win games [and] we’ve proven we can beat anybody in this league. … But it’s just one game. We still have a long way to go.”
When pressed about guard Jeremy Lin’s availability for Game 5 on Wednesday, Woodson was non-committal.
“I don’t know. I have got to talk to the doctors first and see where he is physically. Then we’ll make some decisions before we head to Miami. … Whether he plays or not, injuries are a part of the game. But we got a gang of guys who knew they had to step up [and] Bibby was that guy for us. I’m confident in him if he has to go longer.”
Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.