THE FACTS: Carmelo Anthony scored 12 of his game-high 36 points in the final seven minutes Friday night, lifting the New York Knicks out of an 11-point deficit and to a 100-94 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Target Center. Anthony was 4-for-6 in the stretch, including a running hook shot across the lane with 2:37 to play that gave New York its first lead of the final period.
The Knicks, who won for the sixth time in seven games, outscored Minnesota 24-7 over the final seven minutes to overcome an 87-76 deficit and beat the Wolves for the fourth straight meeting. It's the second straight time Anthony has almost single-handedly pulled out a win over Minnesota; when the teams met in Madison Square Garden in December, Anthony scored 19 fourth-quarter points to pull out a three-point victory.
Luke Ridnour led Minnesota with 20 points, while Derrick Williams added 19 and Ricky Rubio 18 points and 11 assists for the Wolves, who concluded a six-game homestand with a 1-5 record. Minnesota has lost 14 of its last 16 games.
Tyson Chandler blocked two Wolves shots in the final minute to preserve the Knicks' lead, and J.R. Smith, who finished with 15 points, converted a three-point play with 19.9 seconds to hold off Minnesota. Smith and his fellow New York reserves outscored Minnesota's bench, 41-21.
QUOTABLE: "He wasn't going to let us lose."
-- Knicks coach Mike Woodson, on Anthony
THE STAT: 1-for-13 -- Minnesota's 3-point shooting on Friday, a 7.7 percent success rate that illustrated one of the biggest differences between the teams. The Wolves are the NBA's worst 3-point shooting team, while the Knicks -- who weret 8-for-26, or 30.8 percent -- are the second-best, and have made the most in the league.
TURNING POINT: The Knicks, having trouble keeping up with Minnesota's quick three-guard offense, trailed by eight points when they inserted center Tyson Chandler into the game with 6:30 to play, and the change paid big dividends. From that point, the Wolves scored only seven more points, while New York, with Anthony and Smith providing most of the offense, rallied for the win. Chandler had two rebounds and two blocked shots on the defensive end during the fourth period, and knocked down Rubio's desperation drive in the final 10 seconds.
QUOTABLE II: "I tried my best. It's a little tough -- he's a superstar. You can't complain. It does get frustrating when little touch fouls go back-to-back, but you've just got to keep playing."
-- Minnesota forward Derrick Williams, on trying to guard Carmelo Anthony
HOT: As brilliant as Anthony's 12-point fourth quarter was, it was matched by an unlikely scorer -- Wolves guard Luke Ridnour -- in the third quarter. The 10-year veteran made all five of his shots, including three step-back jumpers from 15 feet, plus both of his free throws, and added two assists as well, leading Minnesota to a 31-18 advantage in the period.
NOT: The Knicks entered the second half holding a seven-point lead, but combined defensive breakdowns and poor offensive decision-making to surrender the lead and fall six points behind by the end of the period. New York had more turnovers (three) than assists (two) in the period, made only 7-of-20 shots (35 percent), and a visibly annoyed Woodson lectured Anthony during a timeout about defending the Wolves' pick-and-roll.
FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: It's clear that the playing-time restrictions on Rubio, back after reconstructive knee surgery, have been lifted. The Spanish point guard played a season-high 39 minutes on Friday, his third straight game with more than 30 minutes. Rubio's play warrants the extra time, too; he scored 18 points with 11 assists, and converted a pair of spectacular plays, including a layup he somehow spun into the basket while running full speed.
INSIDE THE ARENA: Wolves forward Kevin Love sat behind Minnesota's bench, his first appearance at Target Center since undergoing surgery on his right hand Jan. 15. Love has been in New York since the surgery, rehabbing the injury under doctor's care. ... Tubby Smith, coach of 18th-ranked University of Minnesota, was in attendance, as was his senior center, Trevor Mbakwe.
GOOD MOVE: The Knicks trailed by 11 points, 87-76, with seven minutes left, when Anthony took over New York's offense. Minnesota's Williams played a physical defense in trying to contain him, but Anthony had too many moves to be shut down -- a 12-foot pull-up, a drive under the basket for a reverse layup, a sweeping hook shot across the lane. The league's second-leading scorer put up 12 points in seven minutes to pull out the victory and finish with 36 points.
BAD MOVE: A 24-second violation by the Knicks gave Minnesota the ball with 33.1 seconds remaining and a one-point deficit, 95-94. After a timeout, the Wolves tried to get the ball inside to Nikola Pekovic, with Ridnour driving toward the basket in hopes of dropping the ball off to his center. In traffic in the lane, though, Ridnour lost control of the ball and tried to launch it toward the hoop, but it was batted away by Chandler, ending the Wolves' best chance at an upset.
ROOKIE WATCH: With a 3-for-10 night from the field, Wolves guard Alexey Shved failed to make half of his shots for the 13th consecutive game. In fact, he's made less than 40 percent in 10 straight games, a slump in which he has made just 31 of 102 shots (30.0 percent).
NOTABLE: With a snowstorm hammering New York, the Knicks arranged to stay in Minneapolis another night, rather than fly home immediately after the game as they had planned. The Knicks' current plan is to bus to the airport early Saturday, in hopes of being cleared to fly east sometime in the morning. Woodson said the team would hold a walk-through in a Minneapolis hotel ballroom if necessary to prepare for their upcoming game against the Clippers. ... Knicks guard Jason Kidd recorded four assists, including the 12,000th of his career on a fourth-quarter 3-pointer by J.R. Smith. Kidd ranks second all-time in career assists, behind John Stockton (15,806). ... Minnesota guard J.J. Barea injured his left foot while committing an offensive foul with 5:38 left in the second quarter, and returned to the locker room for treatment. But he recovered and played 13 minutes in the second half. ... The Timberwolves were without forward Andrei Kirilenko for the second straight game due to a strained quad, and coach Rick Adelman suggested before the game that Kirilenko might not play again until after the upcoming All-Star break, missing three more games. In his place, Mickael Gelabale, who earlier in the day signed a contract for the rest of the season, got his second start. Forward Chris Johnson also signed a contract for the rest of the season on Friday, as his second 10-day contract expired. To make room, the Wolves waived veteran Lou Amundson, who signed as a free agent in September.
UP NEXT: For the Knicks, Sunday vs. L.A. Clippers, Wednesday vs. Toronto, Feb. 20 @ Indiana. For the Timberwolves, Sunday @ Memphis, Monday @ Cleveland, Wednesday vs. Utah.