Carmelo Anthony was so locked in, he didn't even realize how far he was shooting from.
Those 3-pointers put him in the record book. A drive to the basket put the Knicks back in the win column.
Anthony tied a franchise record with nine 3-pointers, then converted a go-ahead, three-point play with 12.5 seconds left to cap a 42-point night and lead New York to a 106-104 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.
The Hawks shot a season-high 60 percent from the field but had their three-game winning streak snapped when Josh Smith, burned on Anthony's basket, missed a 3-pointer on Atlanta's final possession.
Anthony wasn't aware of the record, but he clearly knew his shot was on. So did the Hawks, and Smith may have been expecting a jumper on the last possession and was caught flat-footed when Anthony went right by him.
"It was just a matter of me just taking them shots and making them," Anthony said. "I know I'm capable of making them, but when I'm making them from the outside, from the perimeter, it opens up the game that much more, for myself, for my teammates, and that's what happened tonight."
Amare Stoudemire and J.R. Smith each had 18 points for the Knicks, who were 16 of 27 (59 percent) from 3-point range. Raymond Felton had 12 points and 10 assists in his second game back after a 10-game absence with a broken right pinky.
Jeff Teague scored 27 points for the Hawks. Smith added 20 and Al Horford had 16.
Anthony matched the Knicks' record for 3-pointers held by John Starks, Latrell Sprewell (twice) and Toney Douglas. He also tied Richie Guerin's franchise record with his 29th straight 20-point game. He pulled up for the final one during a streak of three in a row in the first half from the 'G' in the wording "Madison Square Garden" — a good 4 feet behind the line.
"One of them heat check shots at that time," he said, claiming he was unaware where he was standing and using the term for a player launching from extremely deep or extremely quickly to test how hot he really is.
Asked if he'd ever made 10 3s in a game, Anthony responded by asking how many he made last summer in the Olympics.
Indeed, he was 10 of 12 in a 37-game point game against Nigeria — not exactly a quality team such as the Hawks.
His biggest basket came nowhere near the arc.
The Knicks came out of a timeout down by one and Anthony found Smith on him after he was played much of the final period by DeShawn Stevenson, a rugged defender who had frustrated him into a potentially costly technical foul.
Anthony blew by Smith to the left, getting fouled as he laid the ball in.
"He took what the defense gave him," Felton said. "Josh Smith kind of lifted his leg a little bit and then he attacked the back leg, got to the basket and got the and-one. He's been doing a great job of finishing games for us and closing out and hitting big shots."
The ensuing free throw made it 106-104 and Anthony nearly came up with a steal on Atlanta's final possession, but the ball deflected out to Smith, who had a good look that was long.
"It was a good look. It just didn't go down," Smith said. "It was really a back-and-forth game. For us to be able to have a chance at making a game-winning shot or a tying field goal towards the end of that game (with) how well they shot the 3, lets us know that we had a pretty good basketball game ourselves. We just fell a little short."
A night after an ugly 97-80 loss, the Knicks had no problems on offense, though could never get much cushion against the speedy Hawks.
Anthony was poked in the eye by Stevenson with 1:51 left, and responded by angrily slamming the ball to the court, leaving the officials with no choice but to call the technical foul. Kyle Korver made the free throw to give Atlanta a 102-101 lead.
Anthony then missed a jumper, but Stoudemire was fouled and made two free throws. Horford scored on an alley-oop eight seconds later, setting the stage for Anthony's final basket.
The All-Star forward finished 15 of 28 from the field and was 9 of 12 behind the arc in his fourth 40-point game this season.
"It's difficult, because he can make the 3-pointer and he's also fast," Horford said. "He has a first step, like we say in the league, it's a quick first step and explosive. He's a good player."
Leading 27-25 after one, the Knicks ran off the first nine points of the second quarter, getting a pair of 3-pointers from Pablo Prigioni to open a 36-25 advantage. The Hawks wiped all of that away in about six minutes, but Anthony steadied the Knicks with three 3-pointers in the final 2:50. It was 52-all at halftime.
Anthony then hit five 3s in a 17-point third quarter, his final one making it 82-74. The Knicks needed all his offense to build a lead, with the Hawks making 9 of 13 shots (69 percent) in the period.
NOTES: Knicks guard Jason Kidd sat out the second half. The Knicks said the 39-year-old was just being rested. ... Because of Rajon Rondo's torn ACL, he will need to be replaced on the Eastern Conference All-Star team, and Hawks coach Larry Drew hopes Commissioner David Stern looks at Smith or Horford. "No doubt about it. I think both of my guys have been overlooked," Drew said. "It's unfortunate what happened to Rondo, but certainly my guys should be in consideration. Strong consideration." ... The Knicks acknowledged Tyson Chandler's All-Star selection during a first-half timeout. With Anthony voted to start, it's the first time the Knicks have had two players picked since Allan Houston and Sprewell in 2001.
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