The New York Knicks beat the Chicago Bulls 100-99 in overtime as Carmelo Anthony scored a season-high 43 points and hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 8.2 seconds left to spoil the return of Derrick Rose.
The Knicks blew a 21-point first-quarter lead and then rallied from a 10-point deficit in the last four minutes of regulation to force overtime against the Bulls, who lead the National Basketball Association with a 43-14 record.
The Knicks improved to 29-27 and maintained their hold on the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, one game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks (28-28). If the standings remain the same, the Knicks would face the Bulls in the opening round of the NBA playoffs.
“It was a great atmosphere,” Anthony said in a televised interview at New York’s Madison Square Garden. “We might play these guys in the playoffs if we keep doing what we’re doing and get that seed. So this is a big statement game for us and we willed this win.”
Rose, the NBA’s reigning Most Valuable Player, had 29 points for the Bulls yesterday after missing the previous 12 games with a groin injury.
New York again plays the Bulls, who have already clinched a playoff berth, tomorrow in Chicago before visiting the Bucks on April 11. Milwaukee has won two of three games between the teams this season. The Bucks today host the Oklahoma City Thunder (41- 15), who are second in the Western Conference behind the San Antonio Spurs (40-14). The Thunder won the Northwest Division title to advance to the postseason, while the Spurs have also gained a playoff spot.
Spurs’ Win Streak
Oklahoma City beat the Toronto Raptors 91-75 yesterday, while San Antonio pushed its winning streak to 11 with a 114-104 victory over Utah.
New York and Milwaukee each have 10 games remaining in the regular season, which was shortened to 66 games from the usual 82 by a 54-day delay to the start to the campaign as owners and players negotiated a 10-year labor accord.
The Knicks, playing without Jeremy Lin and Amar’e Stoudemire because of injuries, jumped to a 27-6 lead during the first quarter yesterday. Chicago cut the deficit to 10 points with less than two minutes remaining in the first half and trailed 53-45 at halftime.
Chicago outscored New York 30-19 in the third quarter to take a three-point. Rose had 14 points in the quarter.
The Knicks trailed 91-81 with 3:45 to play and cut the deficit to three before Anthony hit a 3-pointer to tie the game with 11 seconds remaining. Anthony then hit the winning shot from beyond the arc with the Knicks trailing 99-97 in the closing seconds of overtime.
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