The Knicks, who trailed by as many as 19 points in the first half at Madison Square Garden, were down 98-87 with three minutes remaining before forging a comeback that was halted with 15 seconds left when Anthony missed a 3-point try that would have tied the score.
“Defensively, we’re just not where we were early in the year and we’ve got to get back to that,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said at a televised postgame news conference.
Anthony, who missed the last two games because of a hyper- extended left knee, went 14-of-24 from the field and hit five 3- pointers to tie his season-high scoring effort.
Stoudemire, who missed the first two months of the season following knee surgery, came off the bench to a standing ovation with 3 minutes, 31 seconds remaining the first quarter.
The 6-foot-11 forward went scoreless in the first half and finished with six points on 3-of-8 shooting and one rebound in almost 17 minutes of action for the Knicks, who fell to 21-10 this season.
Stoudemire, who averaged 17.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game last season, injured his left knee Oct. 19 in a preseason game and later had surgery to remove debris, damaged cartilage and bone from around the joint. It was the same knee that needed microfracture surgery in 2005.
“He was kind of rushing a little bit, but you expect that,” Woodson added. “He’ll be fine. We’ll get him back to the old Amar’e.”
Nicolas Batum scored 26 points for the Trail Blazers (16-14) and rookie Damian Lillard added 21, including a 3- pointer with 35 seconds left that helped secure the win.
The Clippers dropped to 25-7 after the defeat in Denver, their first loss since Nov. 26. They went 16-0 in December and their 17-game win streak was the NBA’s longest since the Boston Celtics won 19 in a row during the 2008-09 season.
Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe each had 12 points for the Clippers, while DeAndre Jordan added 11 points and 11 rebounds.
In other NBA games yesterday, it was Dallas 103, Washington 94; Detroit 103, Sacramento 97; Atlanta 95, New Orleans 86; and Philadelphia 103, the Los Angeles Lakers 99.
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