J.R. Smith hits shot at buzzer as Knicks top Bobcats
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Knicks are heading to Miami with the Eastern Conference's best record and they hope to have their best player against the defending champs Thursday night.
But the Knicks scored the game's final eight points and pulled out a 100-98 win on J.R. Smith's fadeaway 18-foot jumper as the final buzzer sounded.
The Knicks got the thrilling win to improve to 13-4, but Anthony's status remains unknown against the 12-4 Heat. The deep cut on his non-shooting hand required five stitches to close. It was heavily wrapped and numb so Anthony wasn't sure whether he could play. "I want to play," he said. "I want to play against Miami. But at the end of the day I have to do what's right for my finger. The deep cut that it is. We'll see. I'll talk to the doctors. If I can't play then I'll see them two more times."
Anthony scored a Knicks' high 23 points, but was 1-for-11 after halftime. He cut his hand on a metal container by the Knicks bench trying to save a loose ball from going out of bounds.
"I'm going to take some time off from diving into the stands," Anthony said. "I was hurt but J.R. made it feel better."
Anthony was getting stitched up and didn't see the final frenzied seconds that ended with Smith making the clutch shot and the Victor Cruz-like Salsa he did after his teammates mobbed him. "It was unbelievable," Smith said. "It was my first game-winner I've ever hit."
After the game, Bobcats owner Michael Jordan visited the Knicks locker room. Smith said he couldn't repeat what his idol said to him. But it added to his emotional night.
Smith was 1-for-9 from three and 5 of 15 overall before the big shot. He also inexplicably backed out of a 2-on-1 fast break with Raymond Felton after stealing the ball from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with 7.9 seconds left. Mike Woodson called timeout with 3.4 seconds to go and some of Smith's teammates gave him an earful.
But Woodson had confidence in Smith. He designed a play for either Felton or Smith. It went to Smith, who hit the tough fadeaway over Kidd-Gilchrist.
"I knew what move I wanted to go to -- my step back," said Smith, who ended up with 13 points. "It was just a matter of getting there, setting him up to it. Fortunately he fell for it and I got it off. If I didn't make that shot I would have put my head down. I missed so many wide-open shots, let alone with a man on me. I've got to get better at it."
The Knicks held Charlotte scoreless for the final 3:39 and forced them into five turnovers -- including 24-second and five-second violations -- in the last 2:46.
Tyson Chandler had 18 points and 17 rebounds. Felton, playing with a bruised left hand, finished with 17 points and nine assists in 36 minutes. Kemba Walker led Charlotte (7-10) with 25 points and 11 assists. Gerald Henderson and Ben Gordon added 18 and 17 points, respectively.
Thursday night will be the Knicks' first time in Miami since their season ended there in Game 5 of last season's first-round playoff meeting. The Heat will be up for this game.