New York’s Carmelo Anthony turned it on when it mattered most, leading the Knicks to a comeback 94-91 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday.
Anthony’s star turn was the individual highlight on a day when San Antonio routed their Texas rivals Dallas and the Los Angeles Clippers extended a franchise record with their 13th straight win, downing Phoenix.
New York trailed from the opening minutes until Anthony scored eight straight points late. He had scored just nine points on three-of-11 shooting in the first half, but had the final 12 for the Knicks.
Anthony scored 19 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter.
J.R. Smith added 19 points for the Knicks, who will travel to Los Angeles for their game today against the Lakers.
Nikola Pekovic had 21 points and 17 rebounds for the Timberwolves.
“We didn’t want to look back at this game later in the season and say this was a game we shouldn’t have lost,” Anthony told reporters. “We picked it up defensively in the second half and we won the game.”
“That was kind of an MVP performance at the end. He [Anthony] stepped up and made the plays,” New York coach Mike Woodson said.
“When he got that fifth foul called, it’s like a light went off and he made the plays big-time,” Woodson said.
In San Antonio, Dallas welcomed back Dirk Nowitzki for his first game of the season, but he and his fellow Mavericks were powerless to resist the Spurs, who won 129-91.
Danny Green scored a career-high 25 points while Tony Parker had 18 points for the Spurs, who were 20 of 30 from three-point range and led by as many as 46.
After missing the Mavericks’ first 27 regular-season games following knee surgery, Nowitzki entered in the first quarter and finished with eight points and six rebounds in 20 minutes.
Darren Collison scored 15 points to lead Dallas, who lost their third straight.
There was not a hint of unlucky 13 when it came to successive wins for the streaking Clippers, who cruised past the hosting Phoenix Suns 103-77.
Blake Griffin scored 23 points and Chris Paul had 17 points and 13 assists for Los Angeles, who won in Phoenix for the first time in six seasons and also posted a sixth straight road win.
Jared Dudley scored 19 points for the Suns, who were competitive early, but did not score for the last 5:36 of the first half.
The Brooklyn Nets edged the Philadelphia 76ers 95-92, ending a run of six straight home losses against the Sixers, all in their former home of New Jersey.
Joe Johnson scored 22 points, and Gerald Wallace managed 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Nets while Philadelphia suffered a sixth loss in seven games.
The Utah Jazz survived a late rally by the Orlando Magic to win 97-93, with Paul Millsap scoring 18 points and Gordon Hayward 17.
Orlando cut the lead to one in the waning seconds, but came up empty at the foul line and lost their first home game in four.
Also on Sunday, the Sacramento Kings beat the Portland Trail Blazers 108-96.
Marcus Thornton scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half to help slumping Sacramento snap Portland’s five-game winning streak.
The Kings played without starting center DeMarcus Cousins, who was suspended indefinitely on Saturday for unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team.
Already ahead by nine, the Kings opened the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run, including a 3-pointer by Thornton, to build their lead to 87-71.
The Blazers trailed by at least 13 the rest of the way.
John Salmons had 13 of his 15 points in the second half for Sacramento.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Blazers.