NEW YORK (AP) — The huge lead was gone, and the New York Knicks were in danger of a loss that would have hurt far more than their two straight blowouts.
"From a mental standpoint, if this game would have got away from us, ain't no telling what would have happened," Carmelo Anthony said.
It didn't, thanks to Amare Stoudemire's biggest moment of the season.
Anthony had 30 points and 10 rebounds, Stoudemire made the tiebreaking jumper with 2:35 left, and New York pulled out an 83-78 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night after blowing a 23-point lead.
Stoudemire finished with 14 points and nine rebounds for the Knicks, who ended a two-game losing streak but made it harder on themselves than necessary with some sloppy second-half offense.
Stoudemire was a catalyst in a 19-0 second-quarter spurt while playing on both nights of back-to-back games for the first time this season. He was playing restricted minutes and was forced to sit out some games earlier this season following summer knee surgery, but has progressed past that and was on the court for nearly 30 minutes.
He had scored 17 and 15 points in the previous two games, but this time his improved play resulted in a victory.
"It's great in order to be out there playing in a desperation game down the stretch," Stoudemire said. "It feels good to be back on the court, I'd tell you that much. A lot of hard work has been put in to be in top shape."
Mike Dunleavy Jr. scored 20 points for the Bulls, who have lost three straight and five of six. They are having a dreadful time scoring, topping out at 75 points in their previous two games and barely surpassing that in this one.
Joakim Noah had 12 points and 11 rebounds in his return after missing a game with a bruised right thigh, but Luol Deng missed his third straight game with a sore left Achilles for a team already without Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler.
"We got them. We tied them. We just couldn't get over the top," Dunleavy said. "We couldn't break through."
The Knicks were without Raymond Felton, who was resting a sore left hamstring and could be out for what coach Mike Woodson said would "probably be a little while." Fellow starting guard Iman Shumpert joined him among the injured in the third quarter after bruising his left knee during a collision.