Anthony carries Knicks to come-from-behind win vs. TimberwolvesBy The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Fri, Feb 8, 2013 11:50 PM EST
MINNEAPOLIS -- Carmelo Anthony did it again. He scored points in bunches. He took over the fourth quarter. And he made sure the New York Knicks would come from behind for another victory. Anthony scored 12 of his game-high 36 points in the fourth quarter Friday night to lead the Knicks to a 100-94 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. The victory was more difficult for the Knicks than the final score indicated. Minnesota led by 11, 87-76, after Derrick Williams hit a baseline jumper with 7:10 to play. But that's when Anthony knew he had to play aggressive and take control of the game. "At one point, I told Raymond [Felton], 'I'm going to try to go get it,'" Anthony said. "It was just a matter of not wanting to lose the game. ... I had to be aggressive down the stretch." The plan worked to perfection. Anthony almost single-handedly got the Knicks back in the game. New York went on a quick 15-3 run to regain the lead. Anthony, the NBA's second leading scorer, scored 10 points in that stretch and his hook shot with 2:37 to play gave the Knicks a 91-90 lead. Anthony followed by hitting a 19-footer with 1:09 to play that put the Knicks ahead, 95-92. "He wasn't going to let us lose," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "He made offensive play after offensive play. ... For the most part, he dominated the fourth quarter with his offense. We played off of him and he was able to secure the win for us." Just as important was New York's defense down the stretch. Minnesota's Ricky Rubio hit a jumper to cut the lead to one with 58 seconds to play, but the Timberwolves wouldn't score again. After New York was called for a shot-clock violation, the Timberwolves had a chance to take a late lead. Tyson Chandler, however, blocked Luke Ridnour's shot attempt, leading to a J.R. Smith 3-point play that put the game away. "We dug a hole, but we just kept fighting and down the stretch our defense kicked in and made the plays that were necessary to secure the win," Woodson said. Smith scored 15 points for the Knicks while Steve Novak, Amar'e Stoudemire and Felton each added 11. Ridnour led Minnesota with 20 points while Williams scored 19. Rubio had his most productive game since returning from knee surgery, finishing with 18 points and 11 assists. Knicks players repeatedly talked about the importance of pulling off of this victory -- even though the Timberwolves are last in the Northwest Division. Had the Knicks not finished the comeback, they would have lost consecutive road games at Washington and Minnesota, two teams that don't yet have 20 victories. "I just really didn't want to lose back-to-back like that, two teams that I think we should beat," Chandler said. "It's not the kind of loss you want to take. I just told the guys, 'It's going to be a long, long night and flight (Saturday) if we take a loss like this. We've got to do whatever it takes to get this win." While the Timberwolves, who have been crushed by injuries this season, have lost 14 of their past 16 games, Minnesota coach Rick Adelman saw good signs in a close loss to one of the NBA's top teams. "Our guys played hard and really played well, but 1 of 13 from 3, pretty much all open looks. Then we missed those free throws in the fourth quarter that cost us. But if we keep playing like that, we are going to win games." Ridnour was largely responsible for the Timberwolves leading 76-70 after three quarters. After a Stoudemire baseline drive and dunk with 3:17 to play in the third quarter, Minnesota closed the quarter on a 10-2 run. Ridnour, who averages 11.8 points per game, scored eight points in the run and made all five of his field goals in the quarter. His free throws with 33 seconds left in the third quarter gave Minnesota a six-point cushion entering the final 12 minutes. Notes: Because of the winter storm hitting the East Coast, the Knicks planned to spend an additional night in Minneapolis before returning to New York on Saturday. With a high-profile home game Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Knicks will begin preparing in their Minneapolis hotel on Saturday morning. "We'll get up and go through the Clippers (preparation) here and start getting ready for those guys," Woodson said. ... The Timberwolves signed wing Mickael Gelabale and center Chris Johnson for the rest of the season. Both have seen playing time during their two 10-day contracts, and Gelabale is starting in place of injured Andrei Kirilenko. The signings forced the Timberwolves to release Lou Amundson. ... Adelman said before the game that he doesn't expect Kirilenko back until after the All-Star break from his quadriceps injury. ... Each team learned that it will have a player involved in the All-Star Weekend festivities. Minnesota's Rubio will play in the Future Stars game while New York's Steve Novak will compete in the 3-point shooting contest.
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