In his eighth playoff game with New York, Carmelo Anthony finally led the team to victory, the first in the post season for the franchise since beating Toronto on April 29, 2001.
Amar’e Stoudemire returned from a self inflicted injury, slicing his hand after punching the casing for a fire extinguisher minutes after the Knicks fell in Game 2 to Miami.
It all added up to an 89-87 victory over the Heat, sending the series back to AmericanAirlines Arena and avoiding a sweep in the opening round of the post season for the second consecutive season for New York.
Anthony scored 41 points, while connecting on 15-of-29 attempts from the field and sank a go-ahead three-pointer and sank a free throw at the end of the game to clinch the victory.
The Knicks received a huge boost from Stoudemire, playing with a huge cast on his left hand to protect a wound that required 12 stitches to heal, posted 20 points, 10 rebounds and his free throw marked the final point scored in the game.
The win snapped a 13 game losing streak in the playoffs for New York, the longest in league history.
But it almost never happened.
LeBron James submitted another stellar fourth quarter performance, scoring nine of his 27 points in the period and nearly snatching away the game in the process.
The lead changed hands six times in the fourth quarter as Anthony and James engaged in a personal battle for control of the game.
Each team began the game 0-for-10 from three-point range, but in the final 90 seconds, couldn’t miss from beyond the arc.
Mike Bibby drained a three-pointer from the corner to snap a tie at 81. James countered eight seconds later with a shot from beyond the arc of his own.
Anthony responded with a shot from 26-feet away, his only made three-pointer of the game, sending the Madison Square Garden crowd into a frenzy, a group hoping to witness a playoff victory for the first time in over a decade.
New York had an opportunity to put the game away for good, as Anthony was hit on the elbow by Shane Battier as he was rising up for another attempt from long range.
Anthony could double a three point lead for the Knicks, but the his first attempt from the line hit the front of the rim, bounced off the back of the rim and out.
The next attempt was nearly identical, as it hit the front of the rim, drew back iron and a loud groan from the home crowd.
Anthony smiled, shook his head in disbelief, took a deep breath and calmly swished home his final attempt, briefly providing some much needed relief for New York.
James raced down court, flipped up a left handed layup and drew a foul on Tyson Chandler as he attempted to swat away the shot.
James sank the free throw and brought the Heat back within one.
Stoudmire was fouled on the next possession and split his attempts, and Anthony’s tip in attempt rattled out, giving the Heat one final opportunity to either to send the game into overtime or clinch the series with a three-pointer.
Even though James had scored the last six points for Miami, Dwyane Wade found the ball in his hands with the game on the line.
Wade drove to his right on Stoudemire and he was picked up by Landry Fields on a switch. Instead of attacking the rim, Wade raced towards the three-point line, elevating right in front of the Knicks bench sending a shot off the front of the rim.
The buzzer sounded and the Knicks finally had their playoff victory.
The celebration was short lived.
New York is trying to become the first team in NBA history to comeback from an 0-3 deficit and the team must do it with Bibby as the only true point guard on the roster.
At least for one afternoon, New York had some post season success to celebrate, however short lived.