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Carmelo Anthony Makes Two Clutch Three Pointers Against The Bulls from youtube by rajiv.
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Carmelo Anthony may have scripted the most-memorable moment of his already impressive NBA career on Eastern Sunday. The Knicks' undeniable centerpiece in the absence of Amar'e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin, Anthony nailed the game-tying 3-pointer in regulation and the game-winning three in overtime to push the Knicks to a 100-99 win over the NBA's best team, the Chicago Bulls.
"We had the will to win today," Anthony told ABC on his way off the court after having scored a game-high and season-high 43 points on 16-of-31 shooting.
Sunday's win had the feeling of a holiday in the final moments. Trailing by two points in overtime, the Knicks missed four shots on their final possession, but thanks to three offensive rebounds, Anthony was able to line up the game-winner while taking a hand to his face.
"Unbelievable," interim coach Mike Woodson said, after his team won a game in which they were out-rebounded and out-shot by a Bulls squad that has suddenly lost three of its last four games. "They refused to give in.
"It was just a battle until Melo was able to break lose and make the biggest play of the night when he hit the 3 that put us up one," Woodson added.
Naturally, the Knicks sealed the victory with defense. A collision with New York rookie Iman Shumpert prevented Bulls point guard Derrick Rose from catching an inbounds pass with eight seconds remaining, and even though he still had an opportunity for a running layup from the left post as the buzzer sounded, the shot rattled out.
Rose had an equally frustrating moment in the final minute of regulation as he missed two would-be game-clinching free throws just 15 seconds after the Bulls second-best player, Luol Deng, made the same costly mistake. In spite of the missed opportunities, Chicago still seemed destined to win after New York forward Steve Novak's potential game-tying 3-pointer rimmed out despite seemingly going through the cylinder. The ball did bounce back out though, which set the stage Melo's heroic tying 3-pointer on the next possession.
Later Woodson admitted he was yelling for his players to "take the ball to the basket," which is, of course, a directive the team ignored completely, taking 10 3-pointers over the final nine minutes of play.
If Anthony was Batman on Sunday, Shumpert was Robin.
The rookie primarily defended Rose, holding him to six first-half points and an 8-of-26 from shooting mark while forcing several of Rose's eight turnovers. Shumpert also helped the Knicks to a brilliant start and finish, even if the second and third quarters weren't so successful. New York began regulation on a 9-0 run and ended it with a 10-0 run. Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau was even forced to call two early timeouts just to keep the game reasonably close.
However, the Bulls outscored the Knicks by 19 points in between the opening and closing spurts in regulation. As well as Shumpert did defending Rose in the first half, the reigning MVP dropped 19 in the second half as the Bulls came storming back. An 18-foot jumper from swingman Ronnie Brewer gave the Bulls a 73-72 lead with 34 seconds remaining in the third quarter and C.J. Watson quickly followed with five consecutive points on two free throws and a three. Chicago even had a 10-point lead with 3:45 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
In the end, it wasn't enough to stop Shumpert, who finished with 15 points (just 5-of-14 shooting), nine rebounds, six assists and four steals, and the Knicks from picking up a memorable win over a potential first-round opponent. Tyson Chandler quietly had a brilliant game, finishing with 16 rebounds, three blocks and a +15 plus-minus rating.
The 29-27 Knicks, who now hold a one-game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, will face the 43-14 Bulls in Chicago on Tuesday before traveling to Milwaukee's for Wednesday's all-important matchup.