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Anthony's 42 points push Knicks past Pelicans

The SportsXchange

NEW ORLEANS -- On Sunday night at the Smoothie King Center, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony became a scoring tsunami in the NBA All-Star Game, pouring in eight 3-pointers and scoring 30 points to help the East obliterate nearly every All-Star scoring record in a victory over the West.

Three nights later, Anthony torched the New Orleans Pelicans on the same court, scoring a game-high 42 points, including 13 consecutive points in the final 7:10, to carry the Knicks to a badly needed 98-91 victory.

New York (21-33) snapped a three-game losing streak.

"This was just a game I didn't want to see slip away," said Anthony, who scored 24 of his 42 points in the second half as the Knicks, up by 13 early in the fourth quarter, saw the lead evaporate down the stretch.

When guard J.R. Smith (19 points) scored the first five points of the fourth quarter, the Knicks led 83-70 -- their biggest advantage of the game -- and seemed poised to coast home.

However, just as they did in a 98-93 road loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night, the Knicks let a solid fourth-quarter lead slip away. The Pelicans (23-30) ran off 11 consecutive points -- with back-to-back 3-pointers by guard Austin Rivers and Anthony Morrow -- to cut the deficit to 83-81 with 7:59 left.

When guard Tyreke Evans hit a 15-footer on the right baseline, the Pelicans led 91-90 with 2:25 left, and the Knicks looked lost.

Anthony would not let it happen. He already had scored seven consecutive points when he made the game's biggest play, which had an ugly start. Anthony threw up an airball from 20 feet over Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, but Knicks center Tyson Chandler kept the ball alive under the basket, and somehow Anthony came up with the ball under the basket for a layup that gave New York the lead for good, 92-91 with 2:01 left.

"If we could've got that rebound and called timeout and got us in a different (offensive) set, maybe we could've had a cushion," New Orleans coach Monty Williams said.

It didn't work out that way. Anthony followed up that sequence with a 12-footer in the lane over Davis and another jumper in the lane over forward Luke Babbitt, and the Knicks led 96-91 with 40.4 seconds left.

"Melo's been solid all year," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "Melo has been a trooper all year in terms of how he played for our ballclub, and tonight showed."

Anthony said, "My plan was just to create a little bit of space from AD (Anthony Davis) because he's so long and he covers so much space on the court. I just wanted to see the rim a little bit so I could get the ball up there."

Babbitt said Anthony simply was too good.

"He is one of the best one-on-one players in the league," Babbitt said. "He's a superstar, so we were trying to mix up the look. He made some plays down the stretch that really hurt us."

The Knicks are on the outside looking in at the Eastern Conference playoff race, and they suffered another blow when guard Iman Shumpert went down with a left knee injury midway through the third quarter. He will have an MRI exam Thursday in New York.

"They said my ACL is fine, and that was my biggest concern," Shumpert said. "It was uncomfortable. It's just frustrating -- injury after injury. It's been a frustrating year."

NOTES: Knicks F Amar'e Stoudemire, who scored 12 points in a road loss to Memphis on Tuesday night, sat out due to a sore left knee. ... New York coach Mike Woodson said he might consider starting G Tim Hardaway Jr. for extra scoring punch. "There might come a time when that could possibly happen," he said. ... The Knicks have lost 13 games this season in the last two minutes. "It comes down to guys believing in one another and just finishing ball games out," Woodson said. "We're struggling to figure out how to win down the stretch. It's my job as a coach to help them get over the hump." ... Woodson said he didn't know if the Knicks would make a trade before the Thursday deadline. "I can't promise it," he said. ... Pelicans PG Jrue Holiday, who has missed more than a month with a stress fracture in his right tibia, was present at Wednesday's shootaround, but coach Monty Williams said there was no change in his status. "He's out indefinitely," Williams said.

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