Chris Trotman, Getty Images
NEW YORK — The Knicks knew how badly the Nets wanted to beat them, and for a half New York wasn't doing anything about it.
A little more effort, and a lot of Carmelo Anthony sent New Jersey home disappointed.
Anthony scored 39 points for the second straight game, including the tiebreaking jumper with 1:08 left, and the Knicks rallied from a 16-point deficit for a 120-116 victory on Wednesday night.
Chauncey Billups added 33 points, six rebounds and six assists, and Amare Stoudemire scored 23 points for the Knicks, who have won two in a row after a six-game losing streak and trimmed their magic number for clinching a playoff spot to three. They also climbed within two games of Philadelphia for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
After surrendering 68 points in the first half to a team that was blown out a night earlier, the Knicks came into the locker room and decided their effort, as Billups said, was "unacceptable."
"This was a big game for us. We've got a lot to lose, they don't. They just looked like they wanted it more than we did and we talked about that," Billups said. "We came out immediately in the second half and just kind of turned the tide, momentum kind of went our way."
Anthony scored only two points in the fourth quarter after a 20-point third, but it was the basket the Knicks needed in the first meeting since they beat out the Nets in the race to acquire the All-Star forward.
Deron Williams had 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in his return from a six-game absence with an injured wrist, but was short on a potential tying jumper in the final seconds and appeared hurt again after going down trying to chase down his miss.
"I thought he was off a little bit, but man, he made some big plays for us," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "Big shots, timely 3s, good assists. But you could see there at the end, maybe he just ran out of gas a little bit."
HEAT 123, WIZARDS 107: At Washington, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat had a surprisingly tough time against the lowly Wizards — even after No. 1 draft pick John Wall was ejected.
James finished with 35 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, Wade had 33 points and nine assists, and Chris Bosh scored 26, helping Miami get past Washington and avoid what would have been a second consecutive embarrassing loss.
Washington was left without its best player when Wall and two Miami reserves — Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Juwan Howard — were kicked out of the game. The Heat led by as many as 13 before the Wizards managed to make it a one-point game in the fourth quarter. But Wade immediately responded with a three-point play, and Washington never again got closer than two.
The brouhaha involving Wall came with 8:48 remaining in the first half — and with Washington actually ahead, 37-36. The 6-foot-4 Wall moved out to play tight defense on 7-3 center Ilgauskas near the 3-point arc. While protecting the ball, Ilgauskas appeared to elbow Wall in the face at least once. Wall responded by swinging his right hand at Ilgauskas.
Wall and Ilgauskas each was assessed a flagrant foul-2 and ejected.
BULLS 108, TIMBERWOLVES 91: At Minneapolis, Derrick Rose had 23 points and 10 assists in three quarters to help Chicago remain 21/2 games ahead of Boston and Miami in the race for the top seed in the East. Carlos Boozer had 24 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who recorded 31 assists on 41 field goals.
Kevin Love had 16 points and nine rebounds, but was limited to 27 minutes in his first game back from a strained left groin for the Timberwolves, who lost their eighth straight game.
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