WHAT IT MEANS: In his first game back following a two-game absence, Carmelo Anthony started off slowly but found his shot just in time to help lift the New York Knicks to a win over the Denver Nuggets, Anthony's former team.
Anthony, who missed the Knicks' past two games with a laceration on his left middle finger, opened the game by missing 12 of his first 17 shots.
But he got it together in the fourth quarter, going 5-for-7 and scoring 11 key points as the Knicks (15-5) held off a relentless push by the Nuggets.
Anthony finished with 34 points on 10-for-24 shooting. He hit 11 of his 16 free throws and had 6 rebounds.
KIDD AND PLAY: Jason Kidd rarely puts up impressive numbers, but he seems to always make several pivotal plays in Knicks' victories.
For example, Kidd beat Ty Lawson for a loose ball on a 50-50 play and fed Ronnie Brewer for an open dunk to give the Knicks a 90-88 lead. He then found a cutting Brewer, who drew a foul and hit two free throws to put the Knicks up four with 7:30 to go.
With five minutes to play, Kidd found Tyson Chandler on an alley-oop pass coming out of a timeout. Ex-Knick Danilo Gallinari (21 points, 9 rebounds) answered with a three-point play, but Kidd hit a layup over Kenneth Faried to put the Knicks up 101-95.
NOVAK CHECKS IN: Steve Novak attempted just one 3-pointer through three quarters but got going when the Knicks needed him. With New York down 88-80, Novak hit two 3-pointers to cut it to 88-86 and Chandler tied the game with nine minutes to play with a put-back. The 8-0 run included two Knicks steals.
GETTING TECHNICAL: Anthony picked up a technical after demonstratively arguing a foul call on Gallinari. Anthony threw his hands up in the air and was whistled for the tech -- his sixth of the year.
Anthony picked up his fourth personal foul shortly thereafter on an Andre Iguodala drive.
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS: The Knicks took care of the ball on Sunday, finishing with just nine turnovers. The low turnover total was pivotal in the victory. The Knicks shot poorly (43 percent) but outscored Denver in part because they took 14 more shots. That's due to the low turnover output, the fact that the Nuggets turned it over 16 times and the Knicks, without Rasheed Wallace (sore left foot), held their own on the boards (Denver 40, New York 39). The Knicks also hit 12 3-pointers, compared to five for the Nuggets, who shot 55 percent from the floor.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks will likely have a day off on Monday after finishing a stretch of four games in five nights. They will take on Brooklyn at the Barclays Center on Tuesday. The Knicks lost to Brooklyn in overtime on Nov. 26 in the first Knicks-Nets game since the franchise moved to Brooklyn.