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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Anthony erupts for 41; Knicks get playoff win

AP

NEW YORK — Amare Stoudemire raised his hands in the air, one covered in padding, as streamers fell from the ceiling above him.

News photo
Look out below: Atlanta's Jeff Teague (right) fouls Boston's Brandon Bass during the Celtics' 101-79 win on Sunday. The Celtics lead the series 3-1. AP

Finally, New York could celebrate an NBA playoff victory again.

Carmelo Anthony scored 41 points, Stoudemire had 20 points and 10 rebounds in his return from a cut hand, and the 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.

"I think it's the first of many," said Stoudemire, his left arm back in a sling to keep his hand elevated. "Tonight was a great win for us, for our fans to finally get over that hump of those consecutive games that we lost, I guess the Knicks lost, over those years in the playoffs."

Anthony made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 54.5 seconds left as New York overcame another serious injury to win a playoff game for the first time since beating Toronto on April 29, 2001, in Game 3 of a best-of-five series. 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.

"I'm just glad that we came together after that, kept our composure, kept on fighting and won the basketball game," Anthony said.

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 on the last possession that would have given Miami a lengthy rest before starting the second round.

"We'd love to take the week (off) but it's not in the cards for us to do that in this round," Wade said. "You know, we'll adjust. We play Wednesday in Miami at 7 o'clock. We'll be ready to play and give our fans another exciting game."

Wade's errant shot set off a loud celebration from Knicks fans whose team was on the verge of getting swept for the second straight year, and third straight time dating to 2004. It didn't look as if the elusive postseason victory would come in this series, after New York had been blown out by 20 points per game in the first three games.

But they got a huge lift from Stoudemire, playing with padding over his hand just six days after 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.

"We stepped up to the challenge," Anthony said.

Lakers 92, Nuggets 88

In Denver, Kobe Bryant scored 22 points, Andrew Bynum added 19 and Los Angeles' stars got plenty of help from their supporting cast while taking 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 deficit.

Ramon Sessions scored 12 points and also had a big 3 in the final minute for Los Angeles.

Celtics 101, Hawks 79

In Boston, Paul Pierce scored 24 points in 18 minutes and the hosts opened a 37-point third-quarter lead before coasting to the victory and a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

The Celtics can finish off the Hawks in Atlanta on Tuesday. Game 6 would be in Boston on Thursday, if necessary.

Two nights after his triple-double helped turn back the Hawks in overtime in Game 3, Rajon Rondo had 20 points and 16 assists as the Celtics got some much-needed rest for their aging and injured roster.

Josh Smith returned after missing Friday's game and had 15 points and 13 rebounds for Atlanta. Al Horford, who played for the first time in almost four months, scored 12 points.

76ers 89, Bulls 82

In Philadelphia, Spencer Hawes scored 22 points and Jrue Holiday had 20 to help the 76ers beat top-seeded Chicago for a 3-1 lead in the first-round series.

Andre Iguodala had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Sixers, who have won the last three games after dropping Game 1 in Chicago.

Holiday stretched the lead with consecutive 3-pointers late in the game to put the Sixers one win away from becoming only the fifth No. 8 seed to win an opening round series.

Carlos Boozer had 23 points and 11 rebounds, and Taj Gibson added 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulls, who played without Derrick Rose (torn ACL) and Joakim Noah (sprained ankle).



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