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Carmelo Anthony tops Larry Bird's point total during New York Knicks' OT win

By Dylan Butler, The Sports Xchange   |   Jan. 21, 2016 at 12:43 AM
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NEW YORK -- Carmelo Anthony plays basketball with swagger and is never at a loss for words, on or off the court.

However, passing a legend like Larry Bird on the NBA's all-time scoring list is something that humbled the New York Knicks forward.

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"Just to be on that list and to know I passed Larry, knowing what he did in his career and for this league, for me to pass him on that list, I don't really know how to put that in words," Anthony said after leading the Knicks to a 118-111 overtime win over the Utah Jazz at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.

Anthony, who had a game-high 30 points, increased his career total to 21,793 and is now 31st overall on the NBA list, 20 points behind Gary Payton.

"The interesting thing for Melo is there's this land of opportunity out there that he has not quite accessed yet," Knicks coach Derek Fisher said.

Anthony has always been able to score, but he is becoming a more well-rounded player as he matures. He is finding the open man more, as evidenced of his team-high nine assists against the Jazz, and he is willing to battle on the glass, as showed by his seven boards.

He also stepped up defensively, limiting Utah swingman Gordon Hayward to seven points on 2-of-6 shooting in the fourth quarter and overtime.

That example, especially his poise down the stretch during the Knicks' second consecutive overtime win, is rubbing off on teammates.

"Melo is setting a great example for us, how strong mentally we have to be in those situations," rookie forward/center Kristaps Porzingis said. "Find that energy to push through those overtimes and get those wins. (We see) how important it is to stay strong mentally and win those games. I think a big part of us being able to win is because of him."

Porzingis, who had 16 points, five rebounds and three blocks, joined the 217th consecutive sellout crowd of 19,812 and cheered for the Knicks in overtime after fouling out late in regulation.

New York (22-22) rallied from a 13-point deficit.

Porzingis bit on Hayward's pump fake on a 3-point attempt with 2.4 seconds left in regulation, and Hayward, who had 27 points, buried all three free throws to force overtime.

"I've got to use my length," Porzingis said. "Those are my instincts to go up and try to block it, but in that situation, I've got to stay on my feet and use my length and try to bother his shot."

Anthony slung a cross-court pass to forward Derrick Williams, who buried a 3-pointer in front of the Knicks' bench to give New York a 106-103 lead in OT. Williams (18 points) also had a hard-working three-point play to make it 111-105 with 1:01 left in overtime.

"I knew it was going to go one way or the other and we needed to make a play at that point," Williams said. "I just did not want to give up on the play. I'm glad I could finish it with the and-one."

Center Robin Lopez (season-high 22 points, 12 rebounds) also attacked the glass and scored on a put-back as the Knicks' lead expanded to 113-106 with 40.5 seconds remaining in overtime.

Williams and guard Langston Galloway made free throws in the final 15 seconds to seal the victory.

"Carmelo is a great offensive player," Utah coach Quin Snyder said. "When he's scoring like that and he's physical like that, it's hard to stop him. I don't think he had a lot of easy looks, he got around us a couple of times. But that puts a lot of pressure on you."

Swingman Rodney Hood led the Jazz (18-24) with 29 points, including five of his team's 12 3-pointers. Forward Trey Lyles had 13 points, and guard Trey Burke added 12 for the Jazz, who led by as many as 12 points in the second half.

"We played hard. We executed, and I think we outplayed them for most of the game," Hood said. "They wanted the 50-50 balls, the offensive rebounds killed us. They hit some tough shots, but the times they did miss, we didn't rebound well enough."

NOTES: Knicks rookie F/C Kristaps Porzingis ranks fourth among jersey sales from October through December at the NBA's official online store, the league announced Wednesday. Porzingis, the only rookie among the top 15, is behind Warriors G Stephen Curry, Cavaliers F LeBron James and Lakers F Kobe Bryant. ... New York F Lance Thomas was ruled out due to a sore left knee that Fisher said would be re-evaluated. ... Jazz F/C Derrick Favors participated in the morning shootaround but was ruled out with a sore lower back. ... The Jazz continue a four-game road trip in Brooklyn on Friday. The Knicks host the Clippers on Friday in the final game of a three-game homestand.

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