MIAMI -- Carmelo Anthony didn't have to deal with LeBron James on either end of the floor Tuesday night. It made his night much easier and infinitely more difficult for the Heat.
Anthony shredded the Heat's defense and matched his career high with 50 points and led the Knicks to a 102-90 victory over the defending champs, who were without James and Dwyane Wade because of injuries.
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Late in the game, some Knicks fans at American Airlines Arena chanted "MVP" as Anthony attempted foul shots. He was the MVP this night as he carried the Knicks to their ninth straight win -- their longest since the 1993-94 season.
"Unbelievable," Mike Woodson said. "He refused to let us lose. He wasn't forcing anything. Sometimes with great players, things just come easy for them. I thought he did everything he was supposed to do to put us in position to win."
He finished 18-for-26 from the field, including 7-for-10 from three, and became the first Knick to score 50 since Jamal Crawford had 52 against Miami six years ago.
Anthony, who hit 50 twice before as a Nugget, including once against the Knicks, made his first seven shots and had 27 points by halftime. He said he knew right away he had a big night lined up.
"Just from the start of the game," Anthony said. "It's a feeling that you just have when you're out there on the court. Sometimes you get off to a good start and you get cold throughout the game. Tonight wasn't one of them cases."
Anthony scored his 49th and 50th points on the Knicks' last possession. He was waving off Raymond Felton, but then Anthony got the ball and fittingly hit a pull-up jumper over Battier with 16.9 seconds left.
"They were telling me to come and get the ball," Anthony said. "I was trying to get the game over with. Ray yelled at me. Tyson [Chandler] yelled at me and I came up there and got it and it happened."
"It could come down to that game," Woodson said. "We've got to take care of our business before we play them."
The Knicks, who are in Atlanta Wednesday night, have done that lately and did it against the undermanned Heat, winning the season series 3-1.
James (strained right hamstring), Wade (sprained right ankle) and Mario Chalmers (sprained right ankle) sat for the second straight game. They beat the Spurs on Sunday without them, but not the Knicks with Anthony on fire.
The Knicks led 90-88 with 6:47 left, and Anthony sparked a 12-2 game-ending run, scoring six points.
"My mind-set was the same whether they played or not," Anthony said. "My mind-set was to come out here attack early in the game, get something going, get off to a good start and try to win the basketball game."
Chandler returned after missing the past 10 games, nine with a bulging disc in his neck. He showed the effects, as he had just one point and two rebounds, but he had a huge block on Chris Bosh with 2:09 left. Chandler said he isn't sure if he'll play Wednesday night.
Bosh led Miami with 23 points. Mike Miller had 18, but was scoreless after halftime when the Knicks held Miami to 32 points, ensuring Anthony's big night wouldn't be wasted.
"I have seen some games like this from Carmelo Anthony throughout the season," Woodson said. "He had it going early and it was consistent all the way through. When we needed a big bucket, he came up with it."