Knicks 89 Heat 87
- Last Updated: 11:05 AM, May 7, 2012
- Posted: 1:40 AM, May 7, 2012
See ya in Miami!
The Knicks suffered another horrific injury, but not another loss to the Heat.
Amar’e Stoudemire’s dramatic return and Carmelo Anthony’s dramatic shots allowed the Knicks to avoid the sweep, post a thrilling 89-87 Madison Square Garden upset over the Miami Dream Team and end their ignominious NBA-record playoff losing streak.
It was redemption games for both a bandaged Stoudemire and beaten-down Anthony as the Knicks two superstars combined for 61 points to win their first playoff game together and extend the series to a Game 5 in Miami on Wednesday.
The Knicks won’t have starting point guard Baron Davis, who suffered a gruesome potential career-ending dislocated kneecap in the third quarter. But they have life – and they may have Jeremy Lin Wednesday.
Anthony exploded for 41 points after struggling mightily in the firs three games against the Heat, including swishing the go-ahead 3-pointer with 54.5 seconds left. Mike Bibby, replacing Davis, stepped in as point guard and steadied them to the improbable victory.
Anthony and Stoudemire sat up at the podium together for the first time to savor this after the Knicks stopped a NBA-record playoff-losing streak of 13 games. They finally beat the Heat for the first time this season after six straight losses in winning their first playoff game since 2001.
“I think it’s the first of many,’’ said Stoudemire, who put his arm in a sling for the press conference so his hand could be elevated.
Stoudemire called it “a last-minute decision’’ to play with his heavily bandaged hand.
“It does feel great,’’ Stoudemire said. “What makes it feel much better is we won.’’
Stoudemire racked up 20 brave points and 10 rebounds, shooting 8 of 13 and playing without abandon five days after needing hand surgery for punching a glass-enclosed fire extinguisher. During pregame intros, he heard virtually all cheers with a tiny sprinkling of boos and then hit the right kind of glass.
"[Stoudemire] was unbelievable,’’ J.R. Smith said. “He was a force with offensive and defensive rebounds. We really needed it. I had no idea he would play like he played.’’
“We needed a big game out of both of those guys to get over the hump,’’ said Knicks coach Mike Woodson, who may have solidified his future with a victory against all odds. “And it could not happen to two better people. Now we have this monkey off our back and we’re still playing.’’
Anthony, who entered Game 4 shooting 34.5 percent, was a sweet 15 of 29 and made 10 of 14 free throws. He outplayed LeBron James for the first time in the series and bagged that big trey in the final minute to break the tie after being 1 of 12 behind the arc previous to the clutch shot. The Knicks never trailed again.
“He wasn’t ready to go home,’’ Woodson said.
James finished with 27 points and Dwyane Wade had 22 but shot 4 of 11 from the free-throw line. Down two, Wade missed a desperation buzzer-beating corner 3-pointer to preserve the win after a chaotic play in which he dribbled all around the frontcourt before forcing a heave.
Anthony was too clutch.
“It was amazing,’’ said Tyson Chandler, who fouled out in the final 20 seconds. “He hit every big shot down the stretch.’’
“Despite all the stuff going on with our team, for us to come together and win this playoff game, this is a great feeling,’’ Anthony said.
After a Heat backcourt violation following his trey,. Anthony squared up against Shane Battier again from the 3-point stripe. He missed but drew a 3-shot foul with 25.9 seconds left . Anthony missed the first two but hit the next to give the Knicks an 88-84 bulge.
Stoudemire hit 1 of 2 free throws with 14 seconds left to put the Knicks up two before Wade dribbled the game away.
“Tonight was a last-minute decision,’’ Stoudemire said. ‘My hand has been severe the last few days.”
Stoudemire, who missed Game 3, said he used a certain brace two days ago and felt better each day.
“I didn’t think it let him bother him,’’ Woodson said. “It was somewhat surprising. You didn’t know what you’d get.’’
In continuing a series trend that started with Chandler’s flu, Iman Shumpert’s knee injury and Stoudemire’s hand fiasco, Davis collapsed in the third quarter and suffered a dislocated left patella injury. Bibby came into the game and got the job done against his former team.
Davis crumpled to the court with 5:15 left in the third quarter with the Knicks down 1 as he led a fastbreak, got bumped and then dropped. He was carried off on a stretcher as fans chanted his name.
“I was like, ‘Here we go again,’” Anthony said. “But we kept our composure.’’
Lin hadn’t ruled himself out for Wednesday. He hasn’t played since March 24.