- Last Updated: 7:25 PM, May 6, 2012
- Posted: 6:54 PM, May 6, 2012
See ya in Miami!
There was another horrific injury but not another loss to the Heat as the Knicks avoided elimination with a thrilling 89-87 Madison Square Garden upset over the Miami Dream Team to extend the series to a fifth game in Miami on Wednesday.
They won’t have injured Baron Davis (dislocated kneecap), but they have life after the Knicks were sparked by Amar’e Stoudemire’s return with his left hand in a soft cast, Carmelo Anthony exploding for 41 points and Mike Bibby stepping up in a backup role to carry them to victory.
Stoudemire racked up 20 brave points and 10 rebounds, shooting 8 of 13 and playing without abandon five days after needing hand surgery after punching a glass-enclosed fire extinguisher.
“Melo and Stat were huge. We needed a big game out of both of those guys. It couldn’t happen to two better people. We got the monkey off our back and we are still playing,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said of the team’s two stars, who combined for 61 points.
The Knicks stopped their NBA record of 13 straight playoff losses and beat the Heat for the first time this season after six straight losses. The Knicks hadn’t won a playoff game since 2001. Chants of “Beat the Heat’’ cascaded down from the rafters during the game and the Knicks finally did, but the Heat still lead the series 3-1.
Anthony, after struggling horribly in the series, shot 15 of 29 and 10 of 14 from the free throw line and outplayed LeBron James for the first time in the series. James finished with 27 points and Wade had 22 but shot 4 of 11 from the free-throw line.
With 54.5 seconds left, Anthony bagged a 3-pointer to break the tie and jack the Knicks into an 87-84 lead after being ice cold from downtown in the series. They never trailed again and survived Wade’s buzzer-beating 3-point miss.
“He wasn’t ready to go home,” Woodson said of Anthony.
After Anthony’s make, the Heat called timeout, then committed a backcourt violation, giving the Knicks the ball with 40.9 seconds left.
Anthony then squared up against Shane Battier, fired up another 3-pointer that missed but drew a three-shot foul with 25.9 seconds left – one that seemed very suspect. Anthony missed the first two but hit the next to give the Knicks an 88-84 bulge.
James came down and scored an off-balance layup while drawing Tyson Chandler’s sixth foul with 20.3 seconds left. James made the free throw to bring the Heat to within 88-87.
Stoudemire was fouled with 14.7 seconds left and he made 1 of 2, keeping the Heat within two points. Miami inbounded with 13.2 seconds left and Wade dribbled around the court, through the lane, back out to the 3-point corner and fired up a desperation shot that fell short.
In continuing a series trend, Davis collapsed in the third quarter and suffered a dislocated left patella injury that could end his career. Bibby came into the game and got the job done, hitting a 3-pointer from the left corner with 1:23 left in the fourth that gave the Knicks an 84-81 lead. Jeremy Lin has not ruled himself out for Game 5, and his chances of playing Game 5 increase with the Davis injury.
Davis crumpled to the court with 5:15 left in the third quarter with the Knicks down 1 as he led a fastbreak, got bumped and then dropped. It was obvious immediately it was a major injury as his kneecap looked out of place as lay there and a stretcher came out. The Knicks announced later he suffered a dislocated right patella.
The classy Garden fans chanted his name and Davis pointed to the crowd as he was wheeled off, clearly moved. It ended Davis’ shortened, injury-wracked season and probably his career despite his talk last month about wanting to come back next season.
Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, Bibby came into the game and led a surge. Steve Novak hit his first bucket of the two Garden playoff games with 11:30 left in the fourth on a right-wing trey to drive the Knicks into a 67-63 lead.
The Knicks were 0 for 7 in the first half from the 3-point line and had no rhythm to their offense again. They trailed 44-38 at intermission with James leading the Heat brigade with 15 points. Anthony was solid, and had 18 at halftime, making 6 of 14 shots. But he was 0 for 2 from 3-point land, making him 1 for 11 in the series.
Center Tyson Chandler got a technical foul for slapping at Wade after the whistle, then jawing at the referees late in the second quarter. Chandler picked up his third foul on the play and his frustration with the way his postseason went a year after winning a title was evident.
Stoudemire got into foul trouble in the first half and played 10:15, but was very active when he was in there playing with a heavily-bandaged left hand.
“It didn’t let it bother him. It was somewhat surprising. You didn’t know what you would get,” Woodson said.Follow @NYPostsports