KNICKS 100 BOBCATS 98 | TIME WARNER CABLE ARENA
How it happened:
An incredible finish in Charlotte featured an unlikely hero. J.R. Smith buried a fading jumper over Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at the buzzer to hand the Knicks a 100-98 victory over the Bobcats on Wednesday night.
Charlotte fought the Eastern Conference top dog tooth and nail down the stretch. Entering the fourth quarter, the Bobcats even held a three-point lead. At the 2:10 mark of the final period, Smith swatted an attempt from the weak side and Carmelo Anthony chased the loose ball and dove into his own bench. Anthony was forced to go back to the locker room with a lacerated middle finger and did not return.
The Bobcats were called for a five-second violation, and then Raymond Felton connected on a layup to tie the game at 98-98 with 56.3 seconds remaining in the contest. After a traveling call on Charlotte, Felton missed a jumper to push New York on top. Smith jumped the passing lane on the next possession and raced to the opposite side of the floor, at which time the visiting Knicks called a timeout.
With 3.4 seconds on the game clock and Melo in the locker room, Smith worked his way to the left side of the floor for the game-winner. New York improved to 13-4 on the season heading into the monumental matchup against Miami on Thursday night.
Anthony scored 20 of his 23 points in the first half, Tyson Chandler added 18 points and 17 boards, and Felton scored 17 and dished out nine assists despite the injured left hand.
On the opposite side, Kemba Walker was impressive with 25 points in the defeat.
There is a reason shooters have a short memory. Smith shook off a difficult game from the floor, as he only hit 1-of-9 shots from the arc. However, he delivered a confident bucket when it mattered most and provided the clutch shot without Anthony on the floor. Additionally, Smith hit the jumper with a solid defender placing a hand directly in his face.
"I knew what move I wanted to go with...my step-back" -- J.R. Smith on his game-winning play.
New York earned the victory tonight, but the squad launched a ton of shots from downtown. In the win, the Knicks finished 13-of-41 from deep range. Another key statistic is the fact New York only committed eight turnovers.
The Knicks jumped on the plane tonight to Miami, where they will face a quick turnaround for Thursday’s highly anticipated rematch against the Heat.