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Anthony, Knicks best Heat in star-studded matchup

Feb 28, 2011 - 7:45 AM Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Carmelo Anthony finished with 29 points and nine rebounds, as the New York Knicks got key contributions from their stars to take down the Miami Heat, 91-86, at American Airlines Arena.

It is New York's first big victory since acquiring Anthony and Chauncey Billups from Denver last week. The Knicks had not played a winning team since the deal, and were coming off Friday's loss in Cleveland.

But Sunday, New York looked like a playoff-caliber team. The Knicks didn't wilt after getting behind by double digits in the first half, and ended the second quarter on a 16-0 run to go into the break with the lead.

They also delivered in big moments down the stretch. Billups, who finished with 16 points, drilled a go-ahead three-pointer with 1:01 on the clock and had two crucial steals in the final minutes.

Amare Stoudemire blocked LeBron James' potential go-ahead layup with 7.9 seconds left, and totaled 16 points and 10 rebounds. Anthony defended James on the play.

New York held Miami to 52 points in the final three quarters to send the Heat to their second loss in three games.

"If you want to win, this is how we are going to do it," said Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni. "Now it's up to us to do it every night."

In contrast to Anthony, Stoudemire and Billups, the Heat's trio of star players was unsuccessful in pivotal spots.

James finished with 27 points, but missed a potential game-tying three after having his shot blocked. Chris Bosh added 20 points and 12 boards, but his bad pass led to a three-point Knicks lead in the final minute. Dwyane Wade shot 5-of-15, ending with 12 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.

For the Heat, it was another close loss to a good team. They dropped a 93-89 decision in Chicago on Thursday after losing at Boston, 85-82, two weeks ago.

"There is a reason we keep losing these close games, and we have to figure it out," Wade said. "Games are very competitive. We knew this game was going to be competitive. We knew it was going to come down to a defensive play at the end."

Miami's three stars combined to score 24 points in the first quarter -- James had 12 -- as the Heat built a 34-23 advantage.

Miami limited New York to 38 percent shooting in the opening frame, and looked to be in control in the second quarter. Bosh hit two free throws before sinking a jumper with 4:25 left, extending the Heat's lead to 51-36.

But Billups followed with a three-pointer to begin the first stage of the Knicks' victory -- the comeback. Landry Fields followed with another three, and Billups connected from beyond the arc again later in the run. Bill Walker closed the rally with a long-distance make at the buzzer, sinking it as he fell to put the Knicks ahead 52-51.

The third quarter was a struggle for both teams.

Anthony had nine points in the frame and Stoudemire added four, but no other Knicks scored. New York had more turnovers (seven) than it did successful field goals (six).

The Heat, meanwhile, made six of their 19 field goals, while turning the ball over six times. Miami center Erick Dampier took the only two free throws of the quarter, making one.

The mutual futility left Miami with a 66-65 lead moving to the fourth.

Bosh and Wade scored consecutive baskets shortly into the quarter to give the Heat a 74-69 advantage, and while it was not a commanding lead, it seemed to be enough.

They were still ahead by multiple possessions with 3:05 left, when James drove for a layup to make it an 84-78 game.

But Anthony followed with two free throws, and from that point on, the game seemed to shift slightly to the Knicks' favor on every possession.

Billups stole the ball from James on Miami's next touch, then got a short, off-balance runner to fall with 1:43 on the clock, bringing the Knicks within two.

They went ahead, 85-84, on Billups' three after a frenzied and unorganized Heat possession. Billups canned the shot from well beyond the arc on the right side. He said it was "kind of a far shot," but in his range. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said it was nothing new for Billups.

"That's what he's been doing now for several years, and that's why I think it's an absolute mockery to say that he was thrown in on that deal," Spoelstra said. "He's one of the top point guards in this league, and one of the ultimate winners. He just makes winning plays."

Miami's disastrous stretch run continued when Bosh turned the ball over. He drove toward the lane and intended to kick the ball out to the arc, but Billups anticipated the pass and intercepted it. Billups led the fastbreak and dished to a trailing Shawne Williams, who couldn't finish the play but was fouled. He made both attempts with 43.2 seconds to go.

James answered with two free throws after drawing a foul by Stoudemire, and the Heat had an opportunity to go back ahead after playing good defense on the Knicks' ensuing possession.

They forced New York to look for a good shot and James knocked the ball out of bounds with the shot clock at four seconds. Walker then stepped out of bounds while receiving the inbound pass, giving Miami the ball with 12.7 seconds left.

But Anthony didn't allow a good path to the basket on James' drive, getting a hand up as James released the layup that Stoudemire swatted away. Williams grabbed the ball, leading to another trip to the line. He again made both to give New York an 89-86 edge.

With 6.7 seconds remaining, the Heat still had time to sink the game-tying basket and James took charge. He used a shot fake to get a better look at the top of the arc, but missed the try, and Walker got the rebound to secure the Knicks' signature victory.

Game Notes

The Knicks shot just 39 percent, but made 21-of-23 free throws...The teams split the four-game season series. New York won at home, 93-88, a month ago...Mike Miller added 10 points for the Heat...Walker finished with 10 points for NY.