• Anthony’s big finish rallies Knicks past Wolves
    The Associated Press | December 24,2012
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    New York’s Carmelo Anthony (7) battles for the ball with Minnesota’s Nikola Pekovic as Timberwolves’ Dante Cunningham (33) looks on in the second half Sunday at Madison Square Garden in New York.
    NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony scored 19 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter, rallying the New York Knicks to a 94-91 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night.

    New York trailed from the opening minutes until Anthony scored eight straight points down the stretch. He had scored just nine points on 3-of-11 shooting in the first half, but had the final 12 for the Knicks to give them a 4-2 finish on their six-game homestand.

    J.R. Smith added 19 points and Tyson Chandler had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Knicks, who will fly to Los Angeles later Sunday for their Christmas Day game against the Lakers.

    Nikola Pekovic had 21 points and 17 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who played without star forward Kevin Love because of an eye injury. Alexey Shved added 18 points for Minnesota.

    Love was poked in the eye late in the Wolves’ 99-93 victory over Oklahoma City on Thursday and didn’t travel with the team to New York. They nearly pulled it out without him, leading almost the entire night before falling for the third time in four games.

    Anthony made a 3-pointer with 1:53 left to get New York within one, then fought off the tough defense of Andrei Kirilenko, scoring while being fouled and converting the three-point play with 1:13 to play that made it 88-86, the Knicks’ first lead since it was 5-4.

    Anthony followed with two free throws for a four-point lead, and after Shved’s 3-pointer cut it to one, Anthony sank two free throws with 16.5 seconds remaining. The Wolves got it to one again on J.J. Barea’s drive, but Anthony again knocked down two free throws with 6.7 seconds left, and Shved was well short on a tying 3-point attempt.

    Even with Love out and Ricky Rubio still on a minutes restriction in his return from major knee surgery, Minnesota led 29-22 after one and never gave up the lead in the half, even when the Knicks seemed to be putting together some momentum.

    Smith threw down a dunk in Greg Stiemsma’s face as one of the Knicks’ three straight baskets right at the rim, but Minnesota shook off that surge and scored the final seven points of the half, taking a 55-46 lead on Luke Ridnour’s 3-pointer.

    The Wolves had the lead up to 11 a couple of times in the third quarter and were still ahead 73-71 heading to the fourth.

    Notes: Knicks coach Mike Woodson seemed to rule Amare Stoudemire out of the road trip, saying he thought it would be best to have the forward practice against his teammates when they get back before he plays. But Marcus Camby, who has been sidelined by a sore left foot and has barely played this season, said he will be ready to play Tuesday. ... The crowd included Yankees star Derek Jeter and former Knicks guard Richie Guerin, who had an opportunity to see a highlight of his on the “Garden 366” display along the concourse, which marks an event that took place at MSG for each day of the calendar. Guerin’s was Dec. 11. On that date in 1959, he had the first 50-point game in franchise history at the old Garden.



    Nets 95, 76ers 92

    NEW YORK — Nets coach Avery Johnson used the previous three days to give his team some rest after Brooklyn dropped nine of its last ten games.

    The Nets got in some practice time and Johnson’s staff looked over recent game film, adding some new plays to an offense that has struggled this season.

    It paid off Sunday against the Philadelphia 76ers.

    Joe Johnson scored 22 points, including 10 in the third quarter, Gerald Wallace had 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists and the Nets held on to beat the 76ers 95-92.

    Avery Johnson came away pleased with the performance after the Nets had coughed up leads in the second half during their recent stretch of loses.

    “Very satisfied because you know that’s been our Achilles heel,” the coach said. “We still had some minor issues in there. For the most part we took care of the ball. We were so organized whenever there was a breakdown.”

    The Sixers rallied from eight points down in the final 40.5 seconds left, but Brooklyn didn’t fold.

    “We definitely needed it. We just needed to get back in the winning track, especially in our building. It was good for us tonight,” said Deron Williams, who added 16 points to help the Nets end a six-game losing streak at home against Philadelphia.

    “We put in a couple of new sets which were old sets that we ran the last couple of years, that we hadn’t put in this year. It was a little more continuity. We just went over it and kind of worked on it and it was good for us tonight. We got some good looks out of it. We got to the back side of plays and got some open shots.”

    Jrue Holiday led Philadelphia with 21 points, nine assists and six rebounds, Thadeus Young added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Evan Turner had 15 points and seven rebounds. The 76ers, opening an eight-game trip, have dropped six of their last seven games.

    “We got off to a good start, up 12-4. Brooklyn hit us with a 20-5 run which knocked us back and also Joe Johnson’s close to the third quarter. I just spoke to our guys about finishing quarters and who is the most dangerous man on the floor,” Sixers coach Doug Collins said.

    “Those are mistakes you can’t make when you’re on the road. As long as I’m the coach, our guys are going to fight back. If they don’t then they’d have to get another coach.”

    The game seemed out of reach for the Sixers when Williams made a layup with 40.5 seconds left to make it 91-83.

    But Holiday drew a foul on Williams and hit one of two free throws to make it 91-84. Holiday then fouled Williams, but he missed both free throws and Holiday answered with a 3-pointer with 19.1 seconds left to cut it to 91-87.

    After Turner’s foul sent Joe Johnson to the line, the Nets guard hit the first free throw but missed the second, leaving Brooklyn ahead 92-87. Dorell Wright then made a 3-pointer with 9.6 seconds left to cut it to 92-90.

    Williams was fouled again by Holiday and hit two free throws before Turner answered with a layup to make it 94-92. Joe Johnson finished the scoring with a free throw.

    “I thought we played today with a lot more intensity. I thought we had a lot more fun. We talked about it in practice the other day, had a great practice and it came over to the game,” Joe Johnson said.

    Philadelphia jumped out to a 12-4 lead before Avery Johnson called a 20-second timeout with 5:50 left in the first quarter. Brooklyn responded with an 18-0 run, turning an eight-point deficit into a 10-point lead the Nets wouldn’t relinquish.

    “They made shots and got going, so that was pretty much it,” Turner said.



    Jazz 97, Magic 93

    ORLANDO, Fla. — Paul Millsap scored 18 points, Gordon Hayward added 17 and the Utah Jazz survived a fourth-quarter rally to slip past the Orlando Magic 97-93 on Sunday night.

    Orlando cut the lead to one in the waning seconds, but came up empty at the foul line attempting to tie it.

    Utah snapped a two-game losing streak with its fifth consecutive regular-season victory over Orlando. The Jazz played without point guard Mo Williams, who is out indefinitely with a thumb injury.

    Arron Afflalo had 20 points, and Nik Vucevic added 16 points and 16 rebounds to lead Orlando, who has dropped back-to-back games since losing starting forward Glen Davis to a shoulder injury.

    The loss also ended the Magic’s three-game home winning streak.
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