ORLANDO, Fla. -- Carmelo Anthony winced and grimaced in the third quarter when his left knee tightened up. But in the fourth, he had the Magic making faces reflecting pain and despair.
Anthony was unstoppable, scoring 16 of his 40 points in the final 9:20 Saturday night to lead the Knicks to a 114-106 comeback victory over the Magic.
It was the third time this season that Anthony has scored at least 40 and the second time in three games. "As much as I said the team don't need me to score 30 or 40 points, there's going to be nights like tonight where I have to get it going in the fourth quarter for us to win the basketball game, have to do things for us to win," he said. "Coming into the game, that's not my mind-set, but there's exceptional nights."
It was an exceptional night for Anthony, who aggravated his hyperxtended left knee but played through it, and the Knicks needed him to carry them.
The Knicks (23-10) had trouble keeping Jameer Nelson (29 points, eight assists) in front of them all night. They were down 12 in the first quarter and, after a 16-point swing during the third quarter, trailed 89-81 heading into the fourth.
But the Knicks executed better on both ends and Anthony nearly outscored the Magic by himself in the final quarter. The Knicks shot 13-for-20 and outscored Orlando 33-17, sending the Magic (12-21) to its eighth straight loss.
"We grinded in that fourth quarter," Mike Woodson said. "We were down coming into the fourth. We held them to 17 points. That's a sign of a team that didn't want to lose."
Anthony was 14-for-29 from the field and had six rebounds and six assists. He shot 7-for-11 in the fourth quarter and scored nine points in a game-ending 15-8 run. He also assisted on a dunk by Tyson Chandler (14 points, 12 rebounds) that tied the score at 97 with 6:04 left. The Knicks went ahead on J.R. Smith's jumper on the next trip and never trailed again.
"It was just a matter of just getting it going, trying to get it going and doing whatever it takes to win the basketball game," Anthony said.
"He was unbelievable," said Jason Kidd (15 points, eight rebounds, seven assists). "He did everything that he's been doing since the start of the season. I don't want to say he rose to the occasion. He was just Melo."
Smith had 18 points off the bench and fed Kidd for one of the biggest baskets of the game, a corner three-pointer with 1:45 left that made it 109-102.
Amar'e Stoudemire, playing his third game after knee surgery, struggled on both ends of the floor most of the night. He had 11 points and four rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench. Stoudemire got the Knicks going in the fourth with a three-point play and a dunk for their first two scores.
"I thought he gave us some adequate minutes when he was in there," Woodson said. "It's going to be a process. We've just got to take it a day at a time, continue to push him. He'll get better. He'll be fine. He'll be back to his old self soon."
After Kidd's three, Arron Afflalo (29 points) hit a driving layup to make it 109-104 with 1:05 left. But Anthony answered with a jumper to make it a seven-point game with 44.1 seconds left.
"He's playing MVP-caliber ball right now," Stoudemire said. "That's bar none. He's playing phenomenal for us. It's good to have the MVP on our team."