NEW YORK -- The New York Knicks know there isn't much time left to make a playoff push.
There may be less time for Carmelo Anthony and his teammates to convince management to keep them together.
Anthony finished 8 for 26 from the field and had just one basket in the fourth, but it was a big one, a jumper with 13 seconds left and the Knicks clinging to a two-point lead.
Lee carried the Knicks while Anthony struggled, scoring nine straight New York points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:39 left. Lee came to the Knicks in the summer after helping the Hornets to the playoffs last season.
"I think our sense of urgency is picking up and we realize that we can't keep saying it's early in the season," Lee said. "We're four or five games out of the playoffs, I think we realize now that time is running out."
The Knicks are actually only two games behind eighth-place Chicago, despite some prolonged struggles after a 16-13 start. That has put the attention squarely on Anthony's future in New York.
He has a no-trade clause and can stay in New York as long as he wants, but that hasn't stopped speculation that his time here could be nearing an end, with a few reports that the Knicks have been trying to find a deal.
If they do, it would seem to signal that President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson is giving up on this group. Perhaps a strong stretch before the Feb. 23 trade deadline would make him think otherwise.
"I don't think we're playing out there to be convincing," Anthony said. "I think we understand what's at stake right now, and that's having an opportunity to creep back up there in one of those top eight spots."
Kemba Walker had 31 points and 10 rebounds for Charlotte a night after being chosen as an All-Star for the first time. Marvin Williams added 17 points but the Hornets made just seven baskets and had a long dry spell in the fourth quarter.
"We just missed shots," Walker said. "I thought we got great shots. Shots that we normally knock down we kind of missed them, especially me. I thought I got some great looks but just didn't drop."
Kristaps Porzingis also scored 18 points for the Knicks, getting off to a strong start but finishing the game on the bench after fouling out. Brandon Jennings, getting extra playing time after Derrick Rose was hurt, scored 15 points.
Anthony added 11 rebounds but frustrated fans with his shooting. He was booed on some misses, including some loud ones after he was way off on one attempt in the fourth quarter.
Hornets: Charlotte fell to 0-7 on the road in January. ... Jeremy Lamb was active but didn't play after missing the last seven games with an inflamed metatarsal. ... Cody Zeller sat out his second straight game with a bruised quadriceps
Knicks: Rose sprained his left ankle in the third quarter and left the game with 13 points. The Knicks said X-rays were negative.
Anthony wasn't elected a starter for the All-Star Game by fans for the first time since coming to the Knicks and wasn't voted a reserve by Eastern Conference coaches.
"A little disappointed but at this point there's kind of bigger things to worry about," he said. "As a competitor you want to participate in that weekend, knowing how much fun it is, knowing the importance of kind of being down there, and just enjoying that break, that's something that I'll miss the most."
NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME
The Knicks had their game against the Lakers on Monday, Feb. 6 dropped from TNT's coverage lineup on Friday. The network will instead show Cleveland at Washington as the opener of that night's doubleheader.
The Hornets liked Lee but re-signing Nicolas Batum was their priority last summer. Lee was asked if his old teammates missed him Friday.
"A couple of them said that, but they had their opportunity," he said.
Hornets: Host Sacramento on Saturday before going west for a three-game trip.
Knicks: Visit Atlanta on Sunday, the opener of a three-game trip.
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