By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
KNICKS 98, SUNS 96 | MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
How it Happened:
It took a little extra time, but for the sixth time in seven games, the Knicks found a way to come out on top. Playing against a spirited young team from the Western Conference, the Orange and Blue threw the first punch, but also showed they were able to battle back as Phoenix took a lead into the final moments.
Down one with just under a minute to play, New York went to its All-Star at the left elbow and let Carmelo Anthony go to work. A dominant first half, in which he scored 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, was in the rearview mirror and his team needed him to come through in the clutch.
As Melo faced up, he drove to his right, drawing an extra two defenders in the process. Looking to create an angle where there was none, he went in to his shooting motion but at the last moment, as all three defenders committed, he flicked a pass to Raymond Felton, who was buried deep in the right corner. Felton let it go, the ball splashed through the net, and the Garden erupted as the Knicks took a 2-point lead.
The Suns would even the score on a questionable foul call on Kenyon Martin -- what appeared to be a tie-up would be called a shooting foul with one second on the clock, and Leandro Barbosa would knock down both free throws -- but during the overtime period, the Knicks took charge. Phoenix was unable to muster a field goal in the extra frame.
Kenyon Martin (eight points, nine rebounds), who seemed to be making plays all game, set the tone with a powerful put-back dunk and two tough rebounds. Anthony scored four more points to finish with 29 and 16 boards.
It was a gritty performance for the home team; despite trouble containing Goran Dragic (28 points, eight rebounds) for most of the night, Iman Shumpert stepped in down the stretch to bother the Suns' guard. Phoenix came in averaging 103 points per game, so credit the Knicks' defense deserves credit for holding them to 96 points in spite of the extra five minutes.
Knick of the Night:
Anthony, once again, carried the day in the Knicks win. He was unstoppable in the first half, and while the Suns mounted a comeback, he remained engaged and came up with the big plays his team needed down the stretch.
The Knicks head to Charlotte tonight, looking to run their winning streak to six games against the Bobcats tomorrow.