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Carmelo Anthony tosses in 35 as New York Knicks top Indiana Pacers

By Everett Merrill, The Sports Xchange
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Carmelo Anthony tosses in 35 as New York Knicks top Indiana Pacers
New York Knicks' Courtney Lee takes a shot at the basket in the first half against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden in New York City on December 20, 2016. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK -- When the New York Knicks acquired point guard Derrick Rose in the offseason they envisioned a playmaker who could accelerate to the rim and become a secondary scorer to Carmelo Anthony.

The only question was could the injury-plagued Rose, a former MVP with the Chicago Bulls, hold up to the rigors of a full season?

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After missing three of the Knicks last four games with back spasms, Rose provided the Knicks with the ingredients they have been missing in the backcourt over the last several seasons.

Rose poured in 24 points and dished out six assists in the Knicks 118-111 win over the Indian Pacers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. His layup with 1:37 left gave the Knicks a 116-107 lead.

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Rose looked sharp early and often in his 36 minutes. Rose and Anthony, who matched his season high with 35 points, led a fourth quarter comeback by scoring 11 points each in the fourth quarter.

The Knicks (15-13) were down by as many as 81-66 with 4:45 left in the third quarter, before staging their biggest comeback of the season. Anthony got is started with a step-back jumper.

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Anthony drained 7 of 11 3-point attempts. He was 13 of 25 from the floor overall.

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"I'm just happy that we won," said Rose. "I was just trying to get a feel for the game. With me being out, I tried to come in and get them going.

"I saw Melo (Carmelo Anthony) was hot and the team did a great job of finding Melo and KP (Kristaps Porzingis) in the second half. We were making the extra pass tonight."

Joakim Noah added 11 points and 11 rebounds for his second double-double this season and Porzingis contributed 21 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots.

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New York sank 13 of its 23 3-point tries, matching its most 3-pointers this season.

Myles Turner and Thaddeus Young paced Indiana (15-15) with 21 points apiece. Al Jefferson scored 18 points off the bench, and Jeff Teague registered 17 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds.

Three straight 3-pointers, two from Anthony and one from Porzingis, extended the Knicks' lead to 114-105 with 2:57 to play.

A runner from Rose and a 3-pointer from Porzingis in the corner provided New York with a 105-101 advantage with 6:10 to go.

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"Carmelo (Anthony) got hot and made some tough shots," said Pacers coach Nate McMillan. "When he wasn't scoring, (Derrick) Rose did a good job of taking over.

"You have to finish. If you don't finish, whether you are at home or on the road, you are not going to win ball games. It comes down to executing and making plays when you have to."

The Knicks took the lead for good at 103-101 on a 24-foot 3-pointer by Porzingis at the 6:51 mark.

A 3-pointer from Porzingis off a steal from Brandon Jennings tied it at 99-99 with 7:52 to play.

"Once we made some shots and we got some stops defensively you could figure the momentum change," Anthony observed. "I think Brandon (Jennings) got that steal, we got some momentum and we fed off of that."

Anthony scored 13 points in the third quarter, nailing three of his four 3-pointers, including two straight late in the quarter to pull the Knicks within 87-84 going into the fourth.

A pair of baskets from Young helped Indiana to a 53-47 cushion after his two free throws put the Pacers ahead 44-43.

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New York used a 14-7 run to take a 37-36 lead. Courtney Lee's bank shot gave the Knicks their first lead of the second quarter.

Jefferson scored six straight points to open the second quarter, lifting Indiana to a 30-22 lead. His layup moved the margin to 34-26. He scored 14 points in just 8:04 in the half off the bench.

NOTES: The Pacers had won the last seven straight against the Knicks since January 29th, 2015. ... New York matched its season-high 118 points for the third time. ... The Knicks had three players score at least 20 points for the third time this season. ... Carmelo Anthony scored 35 points for the third time this season. ... The Pacers are 1-6 this season in the second game of a back-to-back. They knocked off the Pistons on Monday. ... Knicks C Maurice Ndour and C Marshall Plumlee are on assignment with Westchester of the D-League. ... G Monta Ellis (strained right groin) and G Rodney Stuckey (sore left hamstring) were out for the Pacers. ... The Pacers entered the game third in the league in free-throw percentage. ... Indiana F Paul George, fourth in free-throw percentage, went 4 of 4 from the line Tuesday.

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