Melo powers Knicks past Nets


NEW YORK, March 31- Carmelo Anthony scored 39 points for the second-straight game and the New York Knicks rallied from a 16-point deficit for a 120-116 win over New Jersey on Wednesday.

Anthony helped clinch the victory with the tiebreaking jump shot with 68 seconds left for the Knicks who cut their magic number for securing a playoff berth to three.

Chauncey Billups added 33 points, six rebounds and six assists, and Amare Stoudemire scored 23 points for the Knicks, who have won two in a row after a six-game losing streak.

"This was a big game for us. We’ve got a lot to lose, they don’t. They just looked like they wanted it more than we did and we talked about that," Billups said. "We came out immediately in the second half and just kind of turned the tide, momentum kind of went our way."

Anthony scored just two points in the fourth quarter after a 20-point third, but it was the basket the Knicks needed the most.

Nets star Deron Williams finished with 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in his return from a six-game absence with a wrist injury.

"I thought he was off a little bit, but man, he made some big plays for us," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "Big shots, timely threes, good assists. But you could see there at the end, maybe he just ran out of gas a little bit."

Anthony Morrow scored a season-high 30 points to lead New Jersey.

Brook Lopez added 26 points and Kris Humphries finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds in the Nets’ loss.