NEW YORK Carmelo Anthony was fighting through a tough shooting night and thought the New York Knicks and fans at Madison Square Garden were nodding off after Christmas carols played at halftime.
But the silent night ended as Anthony decked the Minnesota Timberwolves in the fourth quarter.
Anthony scored 19 points in the fourth, including 12 in the final 1:53, to lead the Knicks to a 94-91 victory Sunday night. He finished with 33 points, sending the Knicks to Los Angeles on a high for their Christmas Day game against the Lakers.
"It was just a matter of getting it going," Anthony said. "This game is one of those games that we didn't want to lose and we weren't going to lose."
The Knicks were close to falling to Minnesota for the third time in their past four home games, and the Timberwolves (13-12) were without top player Kevin Love because of an eye injury.
The Knicks came back from 11 points down in the third period and won after trailing for more than 45 minutes.
Anthony gave New York the lead with 1:13 left. Alexey Shved air-balled a possible tying three-point attempt with about two seconds left, and the Knicks improved to 20-7.
"This was a game we had to get," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said.
Anthony missed 10 consecutive shots, but with the game on the line, he decided to take the ball to the basket and leave little room for error.
With the Knicks down one, Anthony drove on Andrei Kirilenko, scored and was fouled with 1:13 left. Before converting the foul shot that gave the Knicks an 88-86 lead, Anthony let out a loud scream and the Garden roared and chanted "M-V-P." It was the Knicks' first lead since 90 seconds into the game.
"It was kind of dead," Anthony said. "I think the music at halftime they were playing the Christmas carols kind of put us to sleep. We bounced back. The crowd got back into it. We made some shots; we got some stops. We fed off the crowd with that one. When they get going at the Garden, it gets rocking."
Anthony finished 10 for 25 from the floor and 10 for 11 from the free-throw line. In the fourth, Anthony was 5 for 8 from the floor and hit 8 of 9 free throws. He outscored Minnesota 19-18 in the fourth.
Anthony also remained aggressive and did considerable damage after picking up his fifth foul with 3:04 left.
"That was kind of an MVP performance at the end," Woodson said. "He stepped up and he made the plays. He got his fifth foul called. It's like a light went on and he just turned it up a notch. We needed it desperately."