New York, NY – Carmelo Anthony scored 19 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead basket with 1:13 remaining, and the New York Knicks held on for a 94-91 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves at Madison Square Garden.
Anthony added seven rebounds and made 10-of-11 from the free-throw line, including several huge ones down the stretch, while J.R. Smith contributed 19 points and seven assists for the Knicks, who have won two of their last three and will next tangle with the Lakers in Los Angeles on Christmas Day.
Tyson Chandler netted 16 points to go with nine rebounds, while Raymond Felton donated 15 points to the victory.
Nikola Pekovic scored a team-high 21 points and ripped down 17 rebounds, while Alexey Shved added 18 points and five rebounds for the Timberwolves, who played without Kevin Love due to an eye injury.
"I would've loved to have Kevin out there, especially for those last five minutes," Minnesota guard J.J. Barea said.
Luke Ridnour netted 14 points, while Barea and Dante Cunningham gave 12 points apiece in the setback.
With the Knicks down 86-82 and 3:04 left on the clock, Anthony put his team on his back, scoring the Knicks' final 10 points to carry them to victory.
After Barea missed a 15-foot jumper, Anthony grabbed the rebound and pushed the ball up the court before setting up shop behind the 3-point arc. He took a kick-out feed from Smith, rose up and buried the trey to cut the deficit to 86-85 with 1:53 to play.
On the next New York possession, the Syracuse product received the ball in the post, spun to his left and laid the ball in while being fouled. He then sank the ensuing free throw to give the home team an 88-86 advantage.
Anthony made two clutch free throws with 31 seconds left before Shved answered with a trey to make it a 90-89 game with 17.9 seconds left. Anthony then made four more huge free throws in the final 16.5 seconds to seal the win for New York.
"That was an MVP performance there at the end," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said of Anthony's late-game heroics. "He stepped up and made the plays. We needed it desperately."
The teams traded baskets early on, as a slam by Tyson Chandler off a nice feed from Smith trimmed Minnesota's lead to 16-13. But then the visitors put some separation between themselves and the Knicks with a small 8-5 spurt which made it a 24-18 contest with 2:54 on the first-quarter clock.
A pair of free throws by Pekovic gave the T'Wolves a 27-20 lead and Smith answered with a layup for New York, but Minnesota held a 29-22 advantage after one quarter.
Pablo Prigioni buried a 3-ball early in the second quarter to bring New York within 35-34, but the Timberwolves scored the next five points to widen the margin back to six with 6:49 to play before halftime.
Chandler got on the end of an alley-oop pass from Smith for an easy slam to bring New York within 43-42, but the Timberwolves closed the opening half with a 12-4 surge to build a 55-46 advantage.
A Pekovic slam early in the third gave the visitors a 63-52 edge, but the Knicks rallied with a 13-4 surge capped by a Smith trey to cut the deficit to 67-65 with 3:20 to play in the frame.
Minnesota upped the lead to six again, but the Knicks cut it to 73-71 heading into the final quarter.
New York has claimed three straight and five of the last seven meetings with the Timberwolves, while Minnesota has lost three straight at MSG ... New York shot 44.4 percent from the floor and played without Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace due to foot injuries ... The game featured five lead changes and one tie ... New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter sat courtside.