NEW YORK — The Knicks knew how badly the Nets wanted to beat them, and for a half New York wasn't doing anything about it.
A little more effort, and a lot of Carmelo Anthony sent New Jersey home disappointed.
Anthony scored 39 points for the second straight game, including the tiebreaking jumper with 1:08 left, and the Knicks rallied from a 16-point deficit for a 120-116 victory on Wednesday night.
Chauncey Billups added 33 points, six rebounds and six assists, and Amare Stoudemire scored 23 points for the Knicks, who have won two in a row after a six-game losing streak and trimmed their magic number for clinching a playoff spot to three. They also climbed within two games of Philadelphia for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
After surrendering 68 points in the first half to a team that was blown out a night earlier, the Knicks came into the locker room and decided their effort, as Billups said, was "unacceptable."
"This was a big game for us. We've got a lot to lose, they don't. They just looked like they wanted it more than we did and we talked about that," Billups said. "We came out immediately in the second half and just kind of turned the tide, momentum kind of went our way."
Anthony scored only two points in the fourth quarter after a 20-point third, but it was the basket the Knicks needed in the first meeting since they beat out the Nets in the race to acquire the All-Star forward.
Deron Williams had 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in his return from a six-game absence with an injured wrist, but was short on a potential tying jumper in the final seconds and appeared hurt again after going down trying to chase down his miss.
"I thought he was off a little bit, but man, he made some big plays for us," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "Big shots, timely 3s, good assists. But you could see there at the end, maybe he just ran out of gas a little bit."
HEAT 123, WIZARDS 107: At Washington, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat had a surprisingly tough time against the lowly Wizards — even after No. 1 draft pick John Wall was ejected.
James finished with 35 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, Wade had 33 points and nine assists, and Chris Bosh scored 26, helping Miami get past Washington and avoid what would have been a second consecutive embarrassing loss.
Washington was left without its best player when Wall and two Miami reserves — Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Juwan Howard — were kicked out of the game. The Heat led by as many as 13 before the Wizards managed to make it a one-point game in the fourth quarter. But Wade immediately responded with a three-point play, and Washington never again got closer than two.
The brouhaha involving Wall came with 8:48 remaining in the first half — and with Washington actually ahead, 37-36. The 6-foot-4 Wall moved out to play tight defense on 7-3 center Ilgauskas near the 3-point arc. While protecting the ball, Ilgauskas appeared to elbow Wall in the face at least once. Wall responded by swinging his right hand at Ilgauskas.
Wall and Ilgauskas each was assessed a flagrant foul-2 and ejected.
BULLS 108, TIMBERWOLVES 91: At Minneapolis, Derrick Rose had 23 points and 10 assists in three quarters to help Chicago remain 21/2 games ahead of Boston and Miami in the race for the top seed in the East. Carlos Boozer had 24 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who recorded 31 assists on 41 field goals.
Kevin Love had 16 points and nine rebounds, but was limited to 27 minutes in his first game back from a strained left groin for the Timberwolves, who lost their eighth straight game.
HAWKS 85, MAGIC 82: At Atlanta, Joe Johnson's floating one-hander in the lane put Atlanta ahead with 55.4 seconds remaining and Orlando's Jameer Nelson missed two chances to tie it.
Josh Smith led the Hawks with 26 points, and Johnson added 18. Nelson paced Orlando with 20 points, but he missed a jumper with 38 seconds left, then badly on a drive with 6 seconds left.
Jason Collins hit one free throw, giving the Magic one last chance to send the game to overtime, but Orlando managed a long 3-point attempt by Hedo Turkoglu that didn't come close.
Atlanta won its third in a row and took the season series 3-1.
76ERS 108, ROCKETS 97: At Philadelphia, Jrue Holiday had 24 points and 12 assists, and Thaddeus Young scored 22 points to lead the Sixers.
Andre Iguodala had 10 assists, and Spencer Hawes and Jodie Meeks each scored 12 points for the 76ers, who can clinch a playoff spot with one more win or one more loss by Charlotte.
Kyle Lowry had 19 points, Kevin Martin had 18, Luis Scola 17 and Chase Budinger 15 for the Rockets, who came in trailing Memphis by two games for the final playoff berth in the West.
HORNETS 95, TRAIL BLAZERS 91: At New Orleans, Carl Landry scored 21 points and New Orleans jumped ahead of Portland for sixth place in the Western Conference.
Chris Paul had 11 points and 12 assists, and Emeka Okafor had 15 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 1:38 left. Willie Green added 12 points, 10 in the fourth quarter.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and 15 rebounds for Portland, which is tied with New Orleans in the standings but has lost the tiebreaker with the Hornets having won three of four meetings.
Andre Miller added 19 points for Portland.
GRIZZLIES 110, WARRIORS 91: At Memphis, Tenn., Tony Allen scored 21 points to help assure Memphis of its first winning season since 2005-06.
Allen added eight rebounds and four assists, and Mike Conley and Zach Randolph scored 20 apiece for the Grizzlies, who improved to 42-33. Conley also had seven assists, and Randolph had 13 rebounds and six assists.
Monta Ellis and Dorell Wright each had 16 points for Golden State.
PACERS 111, PISTONS 101: At Indianapolis, Darren Collison scored 20 points, Danny Granger added 17 and Indiana used a 31-12 run in the second quarter to pull away.
Josh McRoberts added 15 points and Roy Hibbert 12 for the Pacers, who maintained their hold on the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference — one game ahead of Charlotte.
Rodney Stuckey led the Pistons with 24 points on 10-of-20 shooting. Richard Hamilton added 19, Tayshaun Prince and Greg Monroe 14 each and Chris Wilcox 10.
NUGGETS 104, KINGS 90: At Denver, Ty Lawson scored 20 points, J.R. Smith and Danilo Gallinari had 17 each and Denver won its fourth straight.
Al Harrington scored 15 and Nene had 12 points and 15 rebounds for the Nuggets, who increased their lead over Portland to 21/2 games for the fifth spot in the West. The Trail Blazers lost at New Orleans on Wednesday.
Marcus Thornton scored 27 and Tyreke Evans had 22 for the Kings.
BOBCATS 98, CAVALIERS 97: At Charlotte, N.C., Boris Diaw scored 26 points and hit the tiebreaking free throw with 14 seconds left to lead Charlotte.
Diaw added 11 assists and seven rebounds, and Kwame Brown had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Bobcats, who won their fourth straight game to remain one game behind Indiana for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Ramon Sessions had 24 points and J.J. Hickson had 20 for Cleveland.
BUCKS 104, RAPTORS 98: At Toronto, Brandon Jennings scored 25 points, and Andrew Bogut and Drew Gooden both had double-doubles for Milwaukee.
Gooden had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Bogut had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Bucks, who had lost three of their previous four games. Carlos Delfino added 14 points for Milwaukee, which is three games behind Indiana for the final playoff spot in the East.
Andrea Bargnani scored 22 points and DeMar DeRozan had 20 for the Raptors.
THUNDER 116, SUNS 98: At Phoenix, Kevin Durant and James Harden had 22 points apiece and Oklahoma City completed the best regular-season month in franchise history with a victory over the fading Suns.
Michael Westbrook added 16, Serge Ibaka 15 and Kendrick Perkins 13 as the Thunder won their fifth in a row, 11th in their last 12 and 50th of the season. Their 14-2 March was the best monthly record in franchise history. As the Seattle SuperSonics, they went 14-3 twice — in March of 1994 and November of 1996.
Vince Carter, now coming off the bench for Phoenix, scored 28 in the Suns' fourth straight loss. Three of Carter's top four scoring games for the Suns have come against Oklahoma City.
MAVERICKS 106, CLIPPERS 100: At Los Angeles, Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 points and Jose Juan Barea added 22 more off the bench as Dallas came away with a road win.
Blake Griffith had 25 points and 17 rebounds for the Clippers.