'This is my house!'
That's the first thing that came to Carmelo Anthony's mind after his signature moment as a Knick -- a game-winning 3-pointer in overtime to beat the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Bulls on Sunday afternoon.
Anthony screamed those four words -- 'This is my house!' -- while running down the court, soaking in the adulation of Knicks fans after his game-winner.
And he had every right to claim ownership of the Garden on Sunday afternoon.
Anthony hit two of the biggest shots of this Knicks season -- a game-tying three with 11.2 seconds left in regulation a game-winnner with 8.3 seconds left in overtime -- to help lift New York to arguably its most important win of the year.
"Unbelievable," Mike Woodson said. "We refused to give in."
With the win, New York (29-27) climbed a game ahead of Miwaukee and into a tie for seventh place with Philadelphia, which lost to Boston on Sunday.
"This was a big statement game for us," Anthony said.
Indeed it was. And Anthony spoke loudest of all.
He finished with 43 points -- his first 40-point regular-season game as a Knick -- in a season-high 47 minutes. He also added seven rebounds and four assists.
"He was incredible," Tyson Chandler said.
It was the kind of performance the Knicks need out of Anthony down the stretch. Certainly, you can't expect him to go for 43 every night. But with Jeremy Lin and Amare Stoudemire out, the bulk of the scoring will have to come from Anthony.
And he's been up to the challenge.
In seven games without Lin and Stoudemire, Anthony's averaging 29.9 points on 49 percent shooting (39 percent from beyond the arc) -- a significant increase from his season averages of 21 points per game on 41 percent shooting.
Anthony started out red-hot on Sunday, scoring 22 points in the first half on 8-of-14 shooting.
But the Knick offense stalled in the second half as Mike Woodson's club blew a 21-point lead.
The game seemed like a lost cause when Chicago went up 10 with 5:04 to go in the fourth thanks to a four-point play from Rose.
But the Bulls let the Knicks back, missing a chance to essentially seal the game by clanking four free throws in the final 34.1 seconds. Rose's second miss with 19.4 to play kept the Bulls lead at three.
"You get what you deserve," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said.
Rose's miss set the stage for Anthony, who pulled up from 27 feet -- right over Taj Gibson -- with 11.2 seconds left. The banged through the cylinder, sending the Garden crowd into a frenzy.
"That's what the Garden's supposed to sound like," Anthony said.
A miss from Rose sent the game into overtime, setting up Act II for Anthony.
Down two with 8.2 seconds to play, he pulled up over Loul Deng from 25-feet to give the Knicks a one-point, again sending the Garden into hysterics.
Afterward, Anthony called the shot "one of the top" clutch moments in his eight-year career. It was also his signature moment in a sometimes rocky 73-game tenure in New York.
As he soaked in the scene after the shot, Anthony screamed four words that he's probably wanted to say since his first game as a Knick -- 'This is my house!'
"It was mine tonight," he said afterward with a smile.
Hard to argue with that.
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