Knicks get big win at home on Easter

The New York Knicks would not lose.

They kept fighting, much like the Bulls had to get back into the game early on, and ended up having to go to overtime to beat the Chicago Bulls 100-99 on Easter Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony had 43 points, including the two biggest three-pointers of the game, one to tie it at 91-91 and send it into overtime, and the other to win the game, putting the Knicks up for good at 100-99.

“It was a great atmosphere,” Anthony said after the game. “That’s how the Garden’s supposed to be. This was a playoff game. We might play these guys in the playoffs if we keep doing what we’re doing and get that seed. So this is a big statement game for us and we willed this win today.”

Anthony did not will the game on own his own, however.

His biggest help came from guard Iman Shumpert, who pitched in with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. His defense on Bulls star point guard Derrick Rose, however, was his biggest contribution to the Knicks in this game, as he held Rose to an 8-26 night from the field with only 4 assists.

“It’s tough. It was definitely tough,” Rose said. “They were knocking down shots. Didn’t give up when we went up that big lead. They kept fighting.”

Fight they did. But, to Rose’s credit it was his first game since March 12, when he originally hurt his groin against these same Knicks.

He noticeably looked a bit out of tune with his game and even his teammates, with 5 turnovers in the first half. He made some bad passes, misreading open teammates, and his jumper seemed off for most of the game.

But even then he had 22 of his 29 points in the second half and overtime, and was the reason that the Bulls went up by 8 points with about two minutes left in the game.

Down the stretch, however, the Bulls missed four key free throws in a row while the Knicks scored to cut the lead to three.

Down three with the ball, Carmelo simply pulled for three and hit it, tying the game up.

Rose had a chance to win the game, but air-balled a step-back jumper as time expired.

In overtime, Knicks guard J.R. Smith, who had not been able to buy a basket for the entire game up to that point, going 6-22 from the field and 2-11 from the three-point line, hit two big shots to keep the game close.

Down by two points with under 20 seconds left, Anthony walked up the court and calmly pulled a three in Bulls forward Luol Deng’s face, to put the Knicks up one point, 100-99.

Rose got a chance to win it at the end, but missed a floater from the left baseline as he fell out of bounds.

The two teams get  a day off before they play again on Tuesday, this time in Chicago, in what could very likely be a preview of one of the first-round Eastern Conference playoff matchups.