Carmelo Anthony (36) helps Knicks overtake Minnesota

Carmelo Anthony drives around Minnesota Timberwolves' Derrick Williams

Carmelo Anthony drives around Minnesota Timberwolves' Derrick Williams in the second half. (Feb. 8, 2013) (Credit: AP)

MINNEAPOLIS -- Carmelo Anthony bailed out the Knicks on a night when they appeared headed for another embarrassing loss.

The Knicks' defense also came up big with the game on the line on a night when they didn't get many stops against Minnesota's guards. They got the ones they needed, though.

Anthony scored 12 of his 36 points in the final 6:26 and led the Knicks to a 100-94 victory over the Timberwolves Friday night at the Target Center.

"'He wasn't going to let us lose,'' said Mike Woodson, who became the fastest Knicks coach to 50 wins (72 games). "He made offensive play after offensive play. For the most part, he dominated the fourth quarter and we kind of played off him.''

Said Anthony, "I told Raymond [Felton] I'm going to try and go get it."

He scored all of his fourth-quarter points after the T-Wolves opened an 87-76 lead. But after a potentially costly 24-second violation with 33.1 seconds left, the Knicks were clinging to a one-point lead and needed to make a defensive stand.

Felton then stripped Luke Ridnour and Jason Kidd got the ball upcourt to J.R. Smith for a fast-break layup with 19.9 seconds left. He completed the three-point play for a 98-94 lead. Then Tyson Chandler stuffed Ricky Rubio, leading to two free throws by Felton and the last points of the game.

Before that, Rubio and Ridnour torched the Knicks (32-16). Ridnour scored 20 and Rubio had 18 points and 11 assists.

"We dug a hole but we just kept fighting,'' Woodson said. "Down the stretch, our defense kicked in and made the plays that were necessary for us to secure the win.''

Smith scored 15 off the bench, eight in the fourth quarter. Felton, Amar'e Stoudemire and Steve Novak each had 11.

The T-Wolves, without All-Star forward Kevin Love (hand surgery), beat the Knicks with penetration, beat them down the floor and beat them inside. The Knicks' inability to stop quick perimeter players remained a major problem. It cost them in Wednesday's loss to John Wall and the Wizards.

But the Knicks' experience and poise proved too much for the Wolves (18-29) down the stretch. The Knicks outscored Minnesota 24-7 in the final 7:15 and held them to 3-for-13 shooting in that time. "We kept our composure in this situation," Anthony said. "Being on the road, being down 11, for us to keep our composure the way we did it says a lot about us."

Anthony led the Knicks back, scoring 10 points in a 15-3 run. His running hook shot gave the Knicks a 91-90 lead with 2:37 left. The T-Wolves regained the lead on Dante Cunningham's jumper shot 15 seconds later. But Smith fed Chandler for an alley-oop lay-in and Anthony buried a 19-foot pull-up to put the Knicks up 95-92 with 1:10 left. Rubio made it a one-point game with a pull-up jumper with 58 seconds to go. But after the shot-clock violation, the Knicks got the stop they desperately needed.

Because of the weather back home, the Knicks spent the night here instead of flying after the game.

They next play at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Garden against the Clippers. Woodson said that if not for the storm, he might have held a walk-through at the Knicks' practice facility Saturday to prepare for Los Angeles. Now he said that likely will take place in their downtown Minneapolis hotel Saturday morning before they fly.

The end of this game will make the walk-through and flight a little better experience.

"It was one of those games we didn't want to look back on and say, 'We should have won this game,' kind of like the Wizards," Anthony said.

"I just didn't want to lose back-to-back like that, two teams we felt like we should beat," Chandler said. "This is not a loss you want to take. I was telling the guys it's going to be a long flight back if we take a loss, so we got to do whatever it takes to get a win."

The T-Wolves shot 12-for-20 in the quarter and five of their misses were layups or dunks.

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