Carmelo Anthony called it a statement game, and the message should be clear for the Chicago Bulls. If they meet in the playoffs, the Bulls...

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NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony called it a statement game, and the message should be clear for the Chicago Bulls.

If they meet in the playoffs, the Bulls better finish off Anthony and the Knicks when they have the chance.

Anthony scored 43 points, his most since coming to New York last February, and made the go-ahead three-pointer with 8.2 seconds left in overtime as the Knicks spoiled the return to the lineup for a rusty Derrick Rose and beat the Bulls 100-99 on Sunday.

Anthony tied it with a three late in regulation and scored the final five points of overtime. He only had the chance to pull it out because the Bulls missed four straight free throws in the final 34 seconds of regulation.

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“We might play these guys in the playoffs if we keep doing what we’re doing and get that seed, so this was a big statement game for us and we willed this one tonight,” Anthony said.

The Bulls trailed by 21 in the first quarter, fought back to lead by 10 in the fourth, then lost for the third time in four games despite having their starting five together for just the 11th time this season. Their NBA-best record fell to 43-14.

Rose scored 29 points after missing the previous 12 games with a strained right groin, but he shot just 8 of 26 from the field and missed a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left in regulation and the Bulls ahead by three.

“It’s tough. It was definitely tough,” Rose said. “When you lose a game, especially for us, it’s tough. It’s going to hurt us no matter who we lose to, but that team played great, man. They were knocking down shots. Didn’t give up when we (got) that big lead. They kept fighting.”

The Knicks increased their lead over Milwaukee to one game for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They travel to Chicago on Tuesday, visit Milwaukee on Wednesday, and close a difficult week by hosting Miami next Sunday.


LeBron James scored 26 points, Chris Bosh finished with 22 points and nine rebounds, and host Miami beat Detroit, 98-75.

James Jones scored 18 on 6-for-8 shooting from three-point range for Miami, which played without Dwyane Wade (ankle) for the 11th time this season.

Kevin Garnett scored 20 points and Rajon Rondo dished out double-digit assists for his 17th consecutive game, finishing with 15 to help lead host Boston to a 103-79 win over struggling Philadelphia. The 76ers have dropped 10 of 14.

Kevin Durant scored 23 points and Oklahoma City had a 24-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters en route to a 91-75 victory over visiting Toronto, snapping the Thunder’s season-high three-game skid.

Tony Parker scored 28 points and host San Antonio won its 11th straight game, beating Utah 114-104 to maintain its slim lead atop the Western Conference.

Gerald Green scored a season-high 32 points, including a clutch three-pointer with 36.7 seconds left in regulation and a high-flying dunk in overtime, leading host New Jersey to a 122-117 win over Cleveland.

• Knicks guard Jeremy Lin says he feels “pretty good” after knee surgery but doesn’t think he could make it back for the first round of the playoffs.

Lin had surgery Monday to repair torn cartilage in his left knee. The Knicks have said the expected recovery time is about six weeks. Lin says he hopes to start running late next week.

“Obviously I want to get to 100 percent and then come back, hopefully see what I can do,” he said. “By then it’ll be a different team identity, chemistry, so it gets tricky, too.”

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