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         === Smith hits winning shot for Knicks; 'Melo exits early ===
 
 Charlotte,  NC  (Sports Network)  - With  Carmelo Anthony  exiting late in the
 fourth  quarter  with a  hand injury, New  York was without  its closer in the
 final seconds of a tied game.
 
 However,  they found  one in J.R. Smith,  who made huge plays on both sides of
 the ball.
 
 Smith came up with a pivotal steal and then drained the game-winning bucket as
 time  expired  to help the Knicks  escape Charlotte with a 100-98 victory over
 the Bobcats.
 
 Smith finished with 13 points and also had a key block late in the game. Tyson
 Chandler  put  forth a  monstrous  double-double,  posting  18 points  and  17
 rebounds to help pace the Knicks to their fourth straight win.
 
 "It  was  a total team  effort," said Knicks coach  Mike Woodson on the team's
 strong defensive play late. "We got three key steals, a 24-second violation, a
 five-second  count when  they were taking the ball out, those were all winning
 defensive plays coming down the stretch."
 
 Anthony  finished with 23 points, but scored just three on 1-of-11 shooting in
 the  second  half before  leaving. Raymond  Felton tallied  17 points and nine
 assists  and  in his return  after missing four  games with back spasms, Jason
 Kidd totaled seven points, two steals and three blocks.
 
 Charlotte  turned the ball  over on each of its final five possessions to send
 the club to its fifth straight loss. Kemba Walker scored a game-high 25 points
 and had a season-best 11 assists.
 
 "They  played  some good defense  at the end," said  Walker. "I thought we got
 some pretty good shots too, but we made a few mistakes that cost us really. We
 just got to get better with that kind of stuff."
 
 After  a  strong third  quarter, the  Bobcats took a  75-72 advantage into the
 final period and clung to a thin margin up until the final minute of the game.
 
 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored two of his 12 points on a layup to put Charlotte
 ahead  98-92  with 3:50 left, but  turnovers plagued them from scoring another
 basket for the rest of the game.
 
 Felton  hit a floater and Anthony scored on a layup to bring the Knicks within
 two,  however, the Knicks' star was forced from the game on ensuing possession
 after  lacerating  his finger  while trying to  save a loose  ball off a Smith
 rejection.
 
 New  York retained  possession due to a 24-second violation, but was unable to
 score following three missed shots.
 
 The  Bobcats began  to  get sloppy,  as  Walker tripped  while  trying to  get
 to  the basket.  He was  just able  to regain  possession of  the ball  before
 calling  timeout, but the Bobcats were called for five-second violation on the
 inbounds play, giving the ball back to New York.
 
 Felton  quickly got  in the lane and  scored the tying basket but couldn't hit
 the  go-ahead jumper following  a Ben Gordon travel. Smith came up with a huge
 interception  on the  ensuing  play to  give the  Knicks  possession with  3.8
 seconds left.
 
 Then,  with  the clock winding down,  he buried the game-winner to silence the
 Charlotte crowd.
 
 After  Anthony scored  10 and Chandler totaled eight points and nine rebounds,
 Felton  capped  the first quarter scoring  by floating a fadeaway jumper in at
 the buzzer to give the Knicks a 26-24 lead.
 
 Trailing  33-30 following a Kidd 3-pointer, the Bobcats embarked on a 19-6 run
 to  build a  10-point  lead, but  back-to-back triples  by  Ronnie Brewer  and
 Anthony cut the deficit to 49-45 with 3:01 to go in the second quarter.
 
 Anthony  then pulled  them even after knocking down consecutive jumpers, but a
 Brendan  Haywood layup  in the final seconds  of the period gave the Bobcats a
 53-51 halftime advantage.
 
 New  York started  the third on 7-0 run  to regain the lead, but went ice cold
 shortly  thereafter. The  Knicks missed 11 straight shots during an 11-4 spurt
 by  the Bobcats, which  was highlighted by a 3-point play by Walker to tie the
 game at 67.
 
 Smith broke the skid with a jumper for New York and Kidd followed with another
 triple,  but Gerald  Henderson's layup gave Charlotte a 75-72 edge after three
 quarters.
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 The  Knicks  have won the  last four matchups with  the Bobcats and have taken
 eight  of the last 10 meetings ... The Knicks scored 23 points off 14 Bobcats'
 turnovers  ... Henderson  scored 18 and Gordon notched 17 points off the bench
 for  Charlotte ...  New York will continue  a three-game road trip in Miami on
 Thursday  ... The  Bobcats finished a three-game homestand 0-3 and will travel
 to Milwaukee on Friday.
 
 
 12/05 23:46:27 ET

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