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Anthony scores 42 and hits game-winner for Knicks

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Carmelo Anthony had hurt the Atlanta Hawks from 3-point range all game, but he finished them off with a driving layup in the final seconds.

The New York Knicks forward took a pass from point guard Raymond Felton, drove for the game-winning basket, then hit a free throw to convert a three-point play as the Knicks squeezed out a 106-104 win over Atlanta at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.

Anthony's quick first step helped him dart around Hawks forward Josh Smith to complete the three-point play with 12.5 seconds left to overcome a one-point deficit.

Jeff Teague, who led the Hawks with 27 points, then lost control of the ball while attempting to drive for the game-tying basket. Smith's try for a game-winning 3-pointer then bounced off the rim just before time expired.

Anthony led the Knicks with 42 points, tying a pair of franchise records in the process. Anthony hit a career-high nine 3-pointers, which put him even with several Knicks. He also tied Richie Guerin's club record of 29 consecutive games with 20 points or more while helping the Knicks rebound from Saturday's trouncing by the Philadelphia 76ers.

"Not until I came in here; somebody told me, 'Why didn't I take my 10th?'" Anthony said of whether he knew he had tied a team record for threes. "Tonight was one of those must-wins, especially coming off that disaster last night."

Along with Anthony's penchant for hitting from outside Sunday, Smith -- who said he disagreed with the foul call -- said Anthony had been "lulling us to sleep" earlier in the game. That's why Anthony's quick cut to the basket with the Knicks down 104-103 took him aback, Smith said.

"He was 'Quick jab, jab, size you up,'" Smith said of Anthony's moves earlier in the game. "And then on the last play, he kind of went quick -- caught me off guard."

Amar'e Stoudemire added 18 points off the bench, including many in key moments in the final quarter. J.R. Smith, who entered the game having hit just three of his past 24 shots from the field, added 18 for New York (27-15).

Felton had 12 points and 10 assists for the Knicks, in his second game back after missing a month with a broken pinky finger.

Josh Smith scored 20, Al Horford had 16 and DeShawn Stevenson added 15 for Atlanta (25-19), which ended its three-game winning streak.

The Hawks were lights out from the field and the Knicks were equally as impressive from 3-point range. Atlanta hit 60 percent from the field while New York shot 59.3 percent on its threes.

The teams clung to each other down the tense stretch, neither team able to open much breathing room.

"It was really a back-and-forth game," Josh Smith said. "For us to have a shot at a game-winning shot or tying field goal at the end of the game, with how well they shot threes, it shows you we played a pretty good game."

Atlanta took a 102-101 lead when Kyle Korver hit a free throw after Anthony was called for a technical for slamming the ball down after getting poked in the eye by Stevenson. But Stoudemire, who scored eight points in the fourth quarter, answered with two free throws to give the Knicks a 103-102 lead with 1:42 left.

Horford countered with a basket to give Atlanta a 104-103 lead with 1:34 to play, before Anthony eventually hit the game-winner and the Hawks were unable to answer.

"Last shot, we got good penetration from Jeff," Atlanta coach Larry Drew said of the designed play for Teague to attempt to tie the game. "They did a good job collapsing, Josh Smith had a good look at it, and then the shot didn't go down."

Trailing by eight to start the fourth quarter, the Hawks went on a 12-4 run to begin the period and tie the game 86-86 with 7:32 to play, when Horford hit his second straight basket inside.

The Knicks used a 14-4 run at the end of the third quarter to enter the final period with an 82-74 lead. Anthony, who scored 17 points in the quarter and was 5-of-5 on 3-pointers, hit a three to open and close the run. Knicks point guard Felton hit his own three and fed Stoudemire with a no-look pass for an impressive jam during the stretch.

"It's a matter of getting rhythm back," Stoudemire said of improving offensively after missing most of the season due to knee surgery. "Experience is the best teacher. The more I'm out there, the better."

The teams entered halftime tied, 52-52, thanks largely to Teague's 18 points before the break and Anthony's 16.

NOTES: Knicks forward Rasheed Wallace, who's been out since Dec. 13 with a left foot injury, could return to practice this week, coach Mike Woodson said before the game. ... Point guard Jason Kidd, who had to receive treatment for his back Saturday during the fourth quarter against Philadelphia and played only 14 minutes, was back in the starting lineup for the Knicks on Sunday, but only played in the first half. Woodson said Kidd just needed rest. ... Hawks shooting guard Devin Harris started Sunday night for the first time in three games after scoring 14 points off the bench in Friday's win over the Boston Celtics. ... Drew said it was no longer strange to see his predecessor in Atlanta, Woodson, coaching on another sideline. "It's beyond that," Drew said in his pre-game press conference.
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