Knicks End NBA Playoff Losing Run at 13 as 76ers, Lakers Win

The New York Knicks extended their season at least one more game after beating the Miami Heat 89-87 to avoid a sweep and halt a National Basketball Association playoff losing streak that stretched back to 2001.

Carmelo Anthony scored 41 points last night at New York’s Madison Square Garden and Amar’e Stoudemire, who missed Game 3 after cutting his left hand when he punched a fire extinguisher, had 20 points and 10 rebounds while playing with padding and bandages to protect the injury.

“We were a little bit more focused, maybe because our backs were against the wall,” Anthony said at a news conference. “We came out and stepped up to the challenge.”

In yesterday’s other Eastern Conference first-round series, the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Chicago Bulls 89-82 and the Boston Celtics routed the Atlanta Hawks 101-79. The 76ers and Celtics now both hold 3-1 series leads.

The Los Angeles Lakers also have a 3-1 advantage and need one more win to reach the second round after beating the Denver Nuggets 92-88 last night behind 22 points from Kobe Bryant.

Two other Western Conference series continue tonight.

The San Antonio Spurs visit the Utah Jazz, looking to complete a four-game sweep, while the Los Angeles Clippers host the Memphis Grizzlies with a 2-1 series lead.

In New York, the Knicks pulled out the win to end their NBA-record run of 13 postseason losses in a row.

The Heat, the second seed in the East, lead the best-of- seven series 3-1 and host Game 5 in Miami on May 9.

“It’s definitely a challenge, but we’ll take it one game at a time, have fun and see what we can do,” said Stoudemire, whose left arm was in a sling after the game.

Losing Davis

While the Knicks got Stoudemire back, they lost point guard Baron Davis yesterday to a dislocated right kneecap. Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson said Davis, who took over as the starter when Jeremy Lin went down with a knee injury, probably won’t play again in the postseason.

“Another one of our soldiers is down,” Anthony said. “I’m just glad that we came together after that, kept our composure and won the basketball game.”

Anthony hit a 3-pointer with 54.5 seconds left to snap an 84-84 tie and the Knicks held on as Miami’s Dwyane Wade missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds.

Wade finished with 22 points for the Heat, which led by as much as 11, while LeBron James scored 27 and Chris Bosh had 17 points and nine rebounds.

“The Knicks made enough big plays there at the end,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We had many opportunities, particularly when we had double-digit leads, but we weren’t able to do it.”

Ousting a No. 1 Seed

The 76ers, who haven’t won a postseason series since 2003, are one win away from becoming the fifth No. 8 seed to beat a No. 1 seed in the NBA playoffs.

Spencer Hawes scored a team-high 22 points yesterday in Philadelphia, while Jrue Holliday had 20, including a pair of fourth-quarter 3-pointers that pushed the 76ers’ lead to seven. The teams now return to Chicago for Game 5 tomorrow.

“Game 5 has to be as important to us as it is to the Bulls,” 76ers coach Doug Collins said. “You’ve got to take care of your business. The close-out game is the hardest to win in sports.”

The Bulls, who finished the regular season tied with the Spurs for the best record in the league, have lost three straight games since winning the series opener, a game in which NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose suffered a season-ending knee injury.

In Boston, Rajon Rondo had 20 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Celtics, who opened a 23-point halftime lead in winning their third straight game in the series.

Paul Pierce added 24 points for Boston, which travels to Atlanta for Game 5 tomorrow.

The Lakers outscored the Nuggets 22-17 in the final quarter last night in Denver as Steve Blake came off the bench to score eight of his 10 points.

Los Angeles will host Game 5 tomorrow and with a win can advance to a second-round matchup against Oklahoma City.

To contact the reporters on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net; Dex McLuskey in Dallas at dmcluskey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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