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Melo, 'Bockers beginning to believe

1/8/2014

NEW YORK -- If you've watched the Knicks enough this season, you probably weren't surprised by what happened in the fourth quarter on Tuesday.

Carmelo Anthony & Co. let a double-digit lead slip away. Again. They had a few mental breakdowns in crunch time. Again.

But instead of blowing another winnable game at home, the Knicks tried a different approach against Detroit: The defense buckled down, Anthony got a big rebound, he hit his free throws, and New York walked off the floor with a win.

"We're starting to have a little bit more fun out there, trusting each other a lot more than we have and just believing in one another," Anthony said after the Knicks had won for the third time in four games.

The Knicks also won back-to-back games for just the second time this season and snapped a four-game Garden skid.

And the mini-winning streak couldn't come at a better time: New York plays Miami for the first time this season Thursday at home.

"I think we're getting better each day," Anthony said after scoring 34 points against Detroit, including 13 in the third. "[The Heat] are playing well. We've got to lace our sneakers up like they do come Thursday."

New York has won three of four since Anthony returned from a three-game absence due to an ankle injury. Each of those wins was in doubt in the final 90 seconds.

But instead of melting down (think of the timeout fiasco against Washington or J.R. Smith's poorly-timed 3 against Houston), Mike Woodson's club has executed.

They leaned on big plays in the fourth quarter from Iman Shumpert to beat San Antonio and Dallas last week.

On Tuesday, it was Anthony's turn.

With the Knicks up two with six seconds to play, Raymond Felton missed a free throw, but Anthony came up with an offensive rebound over Detroit's sizable front line. He was fouled and knocked down the subsequent free throws to seal the victory.

"We have been on the other end of it where we didn’t do the right thing or they got the rebound and put it back in or something crazy would happen," Woodson said. "Sometimes you need a little luck."

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