Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Knicks Ignite Garden

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Knicks Ignite Garden

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- You can tell yourself it was just a regular-season game. You can point out the flaws, that the Knicks blew a 21-point lead, that they nearly shot themselves out of the game.

But as Carmelo Anthony danced up and down the floor at Madison Square Garden, shouting, "My house," as the crowd went crazy, it was clear that this was something more.

The Knicks, with so many things at stake Sunday afternoon, staged an exhausting battle with the Chicago Bulls and, when the final punch was thrown, escaped with a 100-99 overtime victory.

All of the flaws disappeared in the celebration and really, they disappeared in the final seconds of OT as the Knicks scrapped their way to the win. Anthony rose up as the clock ticked down in overtime. He'd just misfired twice inside and J.R. Smith missed a three-pointer. But Tyson Chandler punched out an offensive rebound to Smith, and the ball went back to Anthony.

He dribbled in front of Luol Deng, lifted and fired. As the three settled through the net with 8.2 seconds left, the last of his season-high 43 points, Anthony bounced his way all the back to the Knicks bench -- a lap he would repeat when Derrick Rose missed on the other end at the buzzer.

"It was a great atmosphere," Anthony said. "That's how the Garden's supposed to be. This was a playoff game. We might play these guys in the playoffs if we keep going and get that [eighth] seed. This was a big statement game. We willed this one today.

"This was one of the top [shots in my career]. Overtime, Easter Sunday, everybody's watching, everybody's in the Garden. This ranks as one of the top."

The game was the first of a three-game set that continues with another meeting with the Bulls on Tuesday in Chicago, followed by a game in Milwaukee on Wednesday. With the victory and a loss by the Sixers, the Knicks are tied for seventh in the East's playoff race - - and one game ahead of the Bucks. …

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