Both stars were surprisingly missing shots in the fourth until Rose delivered his first clutch moment since ACL surgery. The former MVP buried a beautiful baseline floater with 5.7 seconds left over the outstretched arms of Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to give the Bulls an 82-81 win over the Knicks at the United Center.
Anthony had a chance to top Rose and steal a road win, but he missed a contested pull-up jumper over Luol Deng just inside the 3-point line. Chandler then missed a tip at the buzzer.
Still, Anthony and the Knicks (1-1) were very encouraged after their defense in the fourth quarter gave them a chance to win.
"We buckled down on the defensive end," Anthony said. "I love our effort tonight as a team. I think we laid it all out there on the court. Derrick Rose hit a phenomenal shot, over Tyson, over the backboard, we'll live with that."
And the Knicks will live -– and die –- with Anthony. The reigning scoring champ has made so many big shots for the Knicks that it is almost a shock to see him miss down the stretch, the way he did against Chicago on Wednesday. After Anthony made a 12-foot turnaround jumper with 4:10 left to give the Knicks a 78-76, the star forward missed his last five shots and had a turnover.
But again, the Knicks will live with the shots Anthony got in the fourth.
"Look, I've seen Melo make amazing shots for our ballclub," coach Mike Woodson said about Anthony's final miss of the game. "You've seen him make those shots. I think that was a good shot for Melo. It just didn't go in."
This game against the Bulls showed a blueprint for how the Knicks have to beat the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
If the Knicks can play the kind of defense they did against Chicago, they'll be in good shape. They held Chicago to 2-for-15 shooting in the fourth. Rose shot 6-for-22 before his terrific rainbow floater.
Chandler was a force in the paint with 19 rebounds and four blocks. If he can be a presence inside and stay healthy, the Knicks will be in more games than not.
Anthony has to hit one of the shots he missed down the stretch -– something he typically will do. And he'll need somebody else –- whether it is Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Andrea Bargnani or Raymond Felton –- to give him a helping offensive hand down the stretch.
The Knicks erased a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit with a 12-0 run that was capped by Anthony's final made basket. After that, Anthony couldn't hit a basket as Felton (13 points) missed two shots and the Knicks were held to three free throws.
Still, if it wasn't for an incredible shot by Rose, the Knicks probably would have come away with a gritty road victory thanks to their defense.
"I was right there," Chandler said of Rose's game-winning floater. "He just made a big-time play. I do'’t know if he saw the basket to be honest with you. I thought I could get a hand on it. He just got it over my hand. He made a big play."