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Stoudemire has the right stuff for Knicks

ATLANTA -- The New York Knicks gave center Tyson Chandler, the key to their improved defense, a day off against the Atlanta Hawks. Both teams seemed to scrap their defenses through three quarters of a shootout between playoff-bound teams.

However, it was a defensive play that decided the game when Amare Stoudemire blocked Marvin Williams' dunk attempt at the buzzer to save the Knicks' 113-112 win over the Hawks on Sunday.

Carmelo Anthony scored 39 points and hit the winning jumper with 1:40 left on Atlanta's defensive miscommunication. Stoudemire finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds in his second game back after missing 13 with a sore back.

Williams scored a season-high 29 points in a rare start, but came up empty when he -- and the crowd in Philips Arena -- felt he was fouled.

"No contact at all. It was a great battle," Stoudemire said. "It was a phenomenal game. From what Coach Woody's [Mike Woodson] saying, the way to win a championship is defense and rebounding."

The Hawks (38-26) hold the No. 5 seed in the East, and still have hopes of securing homecourt advantage in a likely first-round match-up against the Celtics (37-27).

The Knicks (34-30) are one-half game ahead of Philadelphia (33-30) for the No. 7 spot in the East.


Around the league

*LeBron James had 32 points and eight rebounds, Norris Cole added 16 points and the Miami Heat pulled away in the final minutes to beat Houston, 97-88, and eliminate the Rockets from postseason contention. The Heat played without starters Dwyane Wade (dislocated left index finger), Chris Bosh (leg muscle fatigue) and Mario Chalmers (flu-like symptoms). Backup center Ronny Turiaf missed his seventh straight game while recovering from a hamstring problem.

*Manu Ginobili scored 20 points to lead the San Antonio Spurs to their seventh straight victory, 114-98, over the Cleveland Cavaliers. San Antonio (47-16) moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Oklahoma City in the race for the best record in the Western Conference. The Spurs gave center Tim Duncan the night off.

*Charles Jenkins had 24 points and nine assists while playing all 48 minutes to rally the Golden State Warriors from a 21-point deficit to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, 93-88. Before the game, the Timberwolves announced that All-Star power forward Kevin Love would not play the final two games of the season because of a concussion.

*The Nets' 35-year run in New Jersey will end tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers, their final home game before a move next season to Brooklyn and the new Barclays Center.

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