One game after breaking the Madison Square Garden and team record with 62 points, Anthony followed that up with "only" 35 points on Sunday afternoon to lead the Knickerbockers to a 110-103 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. New York has won two straight after a fivge-game losing streak and are now one game behind the Bobcats for the 8th playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“We needed these two wins,” Anthony said.“It was a booster for us confidence-wise. We’ve got to start building something on our home court.”
Anthony got plenty of support from his teammates than on Friday night with four other players in double figures. Tim Hardaway Jr. was terrific off the bench scoring 18 points on 7-12 shooting, including 4-5 from 3-point range. J.R. Smith added 16 off the bench, and Raymond Felton was great from the field as well with an 8-10 performance to score 20 points.
“I don’t think they just wanted to watch me out there playing offensively,” said Anthony, who had five assists. “Before the game, we all talked about them being more aggressive and don’t try to rely on me scoring 62 points because it’s not going to happen today. And they did that. They were aggressive from the start. And everybody seemed to get it going."
The trio of Felton, Hardaway Jr, and Smith combined to score 17 of the team's 27 fourth quarter points as they were able to finally pull away from the Lakers after leading by only two points after three quarters.
""Last year we had five guys that averaged in double figures and I've always wanted a team where you just didn't know where it was going to come from.," Knicks Coach Mike Woodson said. "We know Melo's going to get his but we need everybody to be a part of the offense and touch the ball and feeling good about themselves."
But it was Anthony who was the one to bail his team out on the offensive end one last time in the final five minutes. Anthony rebounded his own miss to put the Knicks in front 101-97 but misfired on his next shot but the Lakers would turn the ball over. On the Knicks ensuing possession, Anthony's jumper made it 103-98 and after a second straight Lakers turnover, Anthony drove past a Laker defender for the easy layup.
"He's a guy that, he just wants to win," Felton said about Anthony. "Sometimes he likes to take it on his shoulders, so we have to take some of that pressure off of him by hitting shots, by making plays offensively."
Anthony scored a total of 96 points in the last two games and shot nearly 66% from the field. They will continue their season long eight-game home stand with a match up against the Boston Celtics on Thursday night. The last time the Celtics came to Madison Square Garden, they embarrassed and smashed the Knicks with a 114-73 pounding to their division rivals.
"That's in the back of our minds... we want to redeem ourselves," said Anthony.