Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James go head-to-head, but Anthony, who scored 41 points, and his Knicks got the best of james and the Heat, 89-87.
NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony scored 41 points, Amare Stoudemire had 20 points and 10 rebounds in his return from a cut hand, and the New York Knicks snapped an NBA-record, 13-game postseason losing streak by beating the Miami Heat 89-87 Sunday in Game 4 of their first-round series.
Anthony made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 54.5 seconds left as the Knicks overcame another serious injury to win a playoff game for the first time since April 29, 2001. Baron Davis dislocated his right kneecap in the third quarter, just as the Knicks were making the run that got them back into the game after a dismal first half.
LeBron James scored 27 for the Heat, who will try to close it out in Game 5 at home on Wednesday. Dwyane Wade had 22, but missed a 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left that would have given Miami a lengthy rest before starting the second round.
Wade’s errant shot set off a loud celebration from Knicks fans who hadn’t seen their team win in the postseason since beating the Toronto Raptors in Game 3 of a best-of-five series. It didn’t look as if the victory would come in this series, after the Knicks had been blown out by 20 points per game in the first three games.
But they got a huge spark from Stoudemire, playing with padding over his hand just six days after badly cutting it when he punched a fire extinguisher case after a Game 2 loss in Miami. And they got a sensational effort from Anthony, who shot 15 of 29 and was one point shy of his playoff career best after he made only 34.4 percent of his shots in the first three games.
Streamers fell from the ceiling as the players walked off the court, with the Knicks now needing a solution at point guard after Davis was carted off on a stretcher with his severe knee injury.
Jeremy Lin is close to returning from knee surgery, but Iman Shumpert was lost with a torn knee ligament in Game 1.
A day after the Dallas team that beat them in the finals was swept by Oklahoma City, the Heat failed in their attempt for their first sweep since beating Washington in the 2005 Eastern Conference semifinals.
The series was on pace to be one of the most lopsided in NBA history through three games, but this one was within four points the entire fourth quarter, the crowd at Madison Square Garden growing louder with every play that moved the Knicks closer to their first playoff win in 11 years.
Mike Bibby’s 3-pointer with 1:23 left snapped an 81-all tie, but the Heat called timeout and ran a play that freed James for a wide-open 3 that tied it again seven seconds later. On the Knicks’ next possession, Anthony came far beyond the arc to receive the ball after JR Smith picked up his dribble, then dribbled forward and pulled up for a 3 that made it 87-84 with 54.5 to play.
The Heat turned it over on their next possession when Chris Bosh’s pass sailed into the backcourt, and Anthony was fouled by Shane Battier attempting a 3-pointer. He made only one foul shot, and the Heat cut it to one again when James converted a three-point play while drawing Tyson Chandler’s sixth foul.
Stoudemire made a free throw with 14 seconds left to make it 89-87, and Wade lost control of the ball driving into the middle on Miami’s last possession. He regained it and dribbled to the corner for a 3-pointer that was off.
Stoudemire had surgery Wednesday to repair a muscle in his left hand and the Knicks had listed him as doubtful for Sunday, but he was back on the court during practice Friday and cleared to play in Game 4.
He was back in his usual spot as the last player introduced during starting lineups, getting a loud reception, and he quickly sparked the Knicks after their sluggish start.
The Heat jumped to an 8-1 lead, holding the Knicks without a basket for almost four minutes to start the game. Then Stoudemire had three baskets in a 12-2 spurt to give the Knicks the lead, and they were up 20-18 after one following two free throws by Anthony with 7.3 seconds left.
The game then turned into a foul-fest, with 23 called in the second period. The Heat shot 19 free throws, making 14, while the Knicks were 8 of 9. Stoudemire and Chandler both went to the bench with their third fouls, but the Heat failed to pull away even after forcing the Knicks to miss their first six shots of the period while opening a 10-point lead.
Both teams shot 33 percent in the quarter, played at a glacial pace while the teams paraded to the free-throw line. Miami led 44-38 at halftime.
Miami led 51-40 before the Knicks’ offense finally got going. Stoudemire made a jumper and converted a three-point play, Anthony made a layup, and Smith stole the ball and made a 3-pointer for a quick 10-0 run.
James missed and the ball was batted up ahead to Davis, who drove in with a chance to give the Knicks the lead. But his leg buckled near the foul line and he crumbled to the court, called for a travel. Concerned teammates quickly waved for help, and Davis was wheeled off the court.
But New York regrouped and surged into the lead, going up by six late in the period before taking a 64-61 advantage to the fourth. After making only 13 baskets in the first half, the Knicks shot 10 of 20 in the third, getting 11 points from Anthony.
NOTES: Heat reserve C Eddy Curry (flu) was not with Miami for the game. … There was a musical tribute during a second-quarter timeout for Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys, who died Friday of cancer.
76ers beat the Bulls, 89-82
PHILADELPHIA — Spencer Hawes scored 22 points and Jrue Holiday had 20 to help the surprising Philadelphia 76ers beat the Chicago Bulls 89-82 on Sunday and take a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series.
Andre Iguodala had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Sixers, who have won the last three games after losing Game 1.
Holiday stretched the lead with consecutive 3-pointers late in the game to put the Sixers one win away from joining the short list of eighth-seeded teams that have won a series against a No. 1 seed.
Game 5 is Tuesday in Chicago.
The top-seeded Bulls played without Derrick Rose (torn ACL) and Joakim Noah (sprained ankle). Rose is out for the season and Noah is day to day for the rest of the series.
In NBA postseason history, the eighth seed has won a first-round series against the No. 1 seed four times, including last season when Memphis eliminated San Antonio. Golden State (2007), New York (1999) and Denver (1994) also pulled off the rare feat.
The Sixers won three straight playoff games for the first time since Allen Iverson fueled their run to the 2001 NBA finals.
Holiday was sensational down the stretch after a rocky first 3½ quarters. He missed his first five 3-point attempts until he nailed one to make it 77-73. He hit another the next time down for a seven-point lead to the delight of a roaring sellout crowd.
The undermanned Bulls kept at it and refused to use playing without their two biggest impact players as an excuse. C.J. Watson, who scored 17 points, hit a step-back jumper to make it a two-point game.
In a whistle-happy game, Holiday went to the line with 51 seconds left and made both for an 84-80 lead.
Suddenly — and shockingly — the Sixers are a win away from taking a playoff series for the first time since 2003.
Carlos Boozer had 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulls. Taj Gibson chipped in 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Iguodala played through right Achilles’ tendinitis to make so many impact plays for the Sixers.
Without a full roster, the Bulls barked at the refs, talked trash on the court and used every self-motivational tactic they knew to gain an edge on the Sixers.
Noah took charge on the bench as head cheerleader. Wearing a protective walking boot, he clapped, cheered and offered instruction in the timeout huddle. Noah was needed more on the court than as a de facto assistant coach.
Noah was injured midway through the third quarter of Game 3 when he stepped on Andre Iguodala’s foot driving the lane and crashed to the court. Noah instantly grabbed his left ankle in pain. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Noah felt better Sunday.
Boozer actively did his best to keep the Bulls in the game. He played through foul trouble to score 18 points through three quarters (matching his combined total for the first two games) and he fought for some of the tough rebounds Noah would grab.
It wasn’t enough.
Iguodala stopped a Bulls run in the third with a 3 for a 57-56 lead. Bad leg and all, he still soared for a thunderous dunk on the break in the first half for an eight-point lead. One of the worst fourth-quarter foul shooters in the NBA, Iguodala even made both with 26.6 seconds left.
Game 4 lacked the electric atmosphere early that accompanies a postseason game because the 10-mile Broad Street Run was routed in front of the sports complex. The Wells Fargo Center was barely half full by tip and the announced crowd of 20,142 needed time to warm up.
By the time Holiday hit his 3s, the arena was going wild.
His sharp shooting in clutch time came at the right time after a slow start.
Holiday and Evan Turner continue to befuddle coach Doug Collins with their inconsistency. The under-25 starting backcourt followed a solid Game 3 with a combined 3 for 22 for eight points in the first half. Lou Williams, perhaps the league’s top reserve, failed to bail them out with a 1-for-6 effort in the half. Their struggles were a key reason the depleted Bulls kept the score tight even without their two stars.
The Sixers crashed the boards early without Noah in the lineup and had 15 second-chance points in the half to grab a 10-point lead.
Hawes hit the go-ahead 20-footer late in the fourth for the Game 3 winner and he continued his hot hand into Sunday. He had made seven of his first eight shots, including a 3-pointer right before the second quarter buzzer to send the Sixers into halftime with 44-42 lead.
Notes: Boxer Bernard Hopkins, former NBA great Dolph Schayes, former Sixers great Julius Erving and actor Bill Murray attended the game. … Philadelphia last won a playoff series when it beat New Orleans in 2003. … The Sixers hold a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven series for the first time since the 1984 East semifinals.
....................................... ..........................................................................................................................................LAKERS 92, NUGGETS 88: DENVER— Kobe Bryant scored 22 points, Andrew Bynum added 19 and the Los Angeles Lakers’ stars got plenty of help from their supporting cast in a 92-88 win over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night for a 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.
The Lakers can wrap it up Tuesday night when the series shifts back to Staples Center for Game 5.
Reserve Jordan Hill was big for L.A., posting a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Steve Blake scored 10 points, including a key 3-pointer in the final minute as the Lakers overcame a six-point halftime hole and a 71-70 deficit heading into the fourth quarter.
Ramon Sessions scored 12 points and also had a big 3 in the final minute for L.A.
With the game tied at 86, Danilo Gallinari was covering Bryant when a hard screen from Pau Gasol sent him to the floor grabbing his face. Bryant worked the ball to Sessions, whose 3-pointer from just in front of the Nuggets bench put the Lakers ahead 89-86 with 48 seconds remaining.
Andre Miller was whistled for basket interference at the other end, and Blake sank a 3-pointer from the left corner with 18.9 seconds left for a six-point cushion, L.A.’s biggest of the night.
Gallinari led the Nuggets with 20 points, and Miller had 15.
After torching the Lakers for 50 points combined in the previous two games, Ty Lawson was held to 11 points and Nuggets big men Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee weren’t nearly as effective on offense or disruptive defensively as they were in Game 2, when they combined for 28 points and 30 rebounds.
Together, they had 14 points and 11 boards Sunday night.
Coming off a 7-for-23 shooting performance in Game 3, Bryant got off to another shaky start, missing his first three shots, losing the handle on a breakaway and allowing Lawson to swipe the ball away another time, resulting in a shot clock violation.
He briefly found his stroke with seven straight points but finished the first half 5 for 13 for 12 points, leaving him with a .333 shooting clip in the first six quarters at the Pepsi Center on the heels of his 15-for-29 performance in Game 2.
Bynum, who blamed his scoreless first half 48 hours earlier on failing to properly prepare in the pregame, was much more active early on, scoring 11 in the first half, which ended with the Lakers trailing 51-45.
The game was briefly delayed with 1:10 left in the first half when a female fan started walking across the court while the Nuggets were setting up a play.
The woman walked several steps onto the court as Lawson brought the ball past halfcourt. Officials blew the whistle to stop the play and the woman was escorted away by security.
Al Harrington scored nine points in his return to the Nuggets’ lineup. He started out with a clear face mask protecting his nose that was broken Friday night by an inadvertent elbow from Bynum, but he ditched the mask in a matter of minutes.
Nuggets coach George Karl said earlier Sunday he was counting on a big game from Big Al, who is also playing with a torn meniscus in his right knee.
“I’m hoping the karma of basketball rewards a guy who probably shouldn’t be playing,” Karl said. “He’s going to fight through a lot of problems and a lot of pain and his experience and his toughness is something that we need on the court.”
Harrington missed his first six shots but then sank four straight, including a 3-pointer that put the Nuggets ahead 76-75 early in the fourth quarter.
Notes: Miller stole the ball from Matt Barnes and drew a clear-path foul from Barnes five minutes before halftime. … For the second straight game, McGee’s mother, Pamela McGee, who played in the WNBA, was seated courtside near the Nuggets bench. At one point, her son jumped over Bynum, who was whistled for traveling as he found his path to the basket blocked by his counterpart 7-foot center.