CHARLOTTE, N.C. — J.R. Smith is normally the guy watching Carmelo Anthony hit the game-winning shot, not the one knocking it down.
But with Anthony nursing a lacerated finger, the New York Knicks turned to Smith for the last shot and the eight-year NBA veteran delivered.
Smith hit a fallaway jumper from the left wing as time expired to give the Knicks a 100-98 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.
“I was hurt, but J.R. made it feel better,” Anthony said.
Anthony scored 20 of his 23 points in the first half, but went cold in the second half and wasn’t on the floor for the final 2:10 after injuring his left hand diving into the Knicks’ bench for a loose ball.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson said Anthony received five stitches in the middle finger of his left hand.
Anthony’s finger was wrapped after the game and he said it was a deep cut. He said he sliced it open on something sharp on the bench.
“I’m going to take some time off from diving in the stands,” he said.
Anthony said he isn’t sure if he’ll play in Thursday night’s showdown at Miami.
“Right now it’s numb, so I don’t know,” he said.
Tyson Chandler had 18 points and 17 rebounds for the Knicks. Smith finished with 13 points.
Kemba Walker had 25 points and 11 rebounds for the Bobcats (7-10), who have lost five straight games since equaling last season’s win total. Gerald Henderson scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter in his second game back after a 13-game layoff.
The Bobcats appeared in position to win late in the game after a miss by Raymond Felton with 14 seconds left, but rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist made an ill-advised pass toward the top of the key and Smith stepped in front of it to intercept it.
After a timeout, Smith drove to the left side and hit an 18-footer over Kidd-Gilchrist.
“It was unbelievable,” Smith said. “It was the first game-winner I’ve ever hit. I knew what move I wanted to go to with my step-back, but it was just a matter of getting there and setting him up to it. Fortunately he fell for it and I got it off.”
The Bobcats had a foul to give, but elected not to foul Smith.
Anthony came in averaging 30.6 points over the past six games and was sharp early, hitting seven of his first 11 shots from the field for 20 points.
But he missed his first 10 shots of the second half.
Anthony drove hard to the lane at one point and put up a layup but was blocked by Bismack Biyombo, who gave him the Dikembe Mutumbo finger wag as Anthony pleaded for a goaltending call. Anthony didn’t hit his first field goal of the second half until 2:35 remained in the game just before exiting.
Woodson called the win a “total team effort.”
The final minute was a frantic one, particularly for the Bobcats, who seemed to panic at times and incur self-inflicted turnovers.
“We got three key steals and a 24-second violation and we had a 5-second count,” Woodson said. “Those are all winning defensive plays coming down the stretch.”
The most costly was Kidd-Gilchrist’s bad pass over the middle. After Felton missed, the Bobcats pushed the ball up the floor and instead of pulling the ball out for the last-second shot, the rookie threw the ball into double coverage.
“I thought he had an open lane,” Walker said. “I guess they recovered fast. He’s young. You know, we’re young. We’re going to stick with him and get on to the next one.”
Walker, who has made a major improvement from his rookie season, stepped up his game against Felton and the Knicks.
On one third-quarter drive, he electrified the crowd by faking out a defender near the top of the key, driving the left side of the lane before spinning awkwardly in the air and laying it off the glass and drawing a foul on Steve Novak for a three-point play.
The Bobcats led 53-51 despite 20 first-half points from Anthony.
Charlotte got a strong performance from Walker and Ben Gordon, who continued his red-hot shooting in the early going and finished with 17 points. Gordon came in having made 18 of 26 3-point attempts over the past three games and 3 of 5 against the Knicks.
Walker continued to play well at home with 12 points and six assists before the break.
Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap said despite the loss, the close game is more proof the Bobcats are making good strides.
“We’re playing everyone tough,” Dunlap said. “We’re just not getting the results right now, but there’s no reason to be down about this thing. We believe as we gain experience we’ll be able to perform in more of the situations that we get with these young guys.”
SPURS 110, BUCKS 99
SAN ANTONIO — Tony Parker and Gary Neal each scored 22 points, and San Antonio had a season-high 53 rebounds in the win over Milwaukee.
Tim Duncan added 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs. Tiago Splitter had 15 points, Manu Ginobili scored 11 and Matt Bonner had a season-high 12 rebounds.
Monta Ellis had 21 points and 11 assists for Milwaukee. Brandon Jennings added 14 points and Ersan Ilyasova scored all of his 17 points in the first half.
San Antonio, which went on a 36-15 run bridging the final two quarters to pull away, outrebounded Milwaukee 53-36, including a 28-17 advantage in the second half.
CLIPPERS 112, MAVERICKS 90
LOS ANGELES — Blake Griffin had 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Chris Paul added 14 points and 13 assists, propelling Los Angeles over Dallas for its fourth straight victory.
Jamal Crawford had 20 points, Caron Butler scored 16 and DeAndre Jordan 12 for the Clippers, who shot 50 percent and dominated the entire game, keeping Dallas owner Mark Cuban glued to his seat with his chin cupped in his left hand.
Reserve Vince Carter scored 16 points for Dallas. Derek Fisher added 15 points, and Shawn Marion and Chris Kaman had 14 points apiece for the Mavericks, who fell to 2-7 on the road.
PACERS 99, TRAIL BLAZERS 92
INDIANAPOLIS — Paul George scored 22 points and George Hill added 18 to help Indiana beat Portland.
David West had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers (10-9), who have won four of five and moved above .500 for the first time since a 2-1 start.
Damian Lillard led Portland with 23 points. Wesley Matthews scored 19, LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and J.J. Hickson had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Trail Blazers.
Indiana outscored Portland 31-14 in the third quarter to take control. The Blazers made a push in the fourth but could get no closer than four.
CELTICS 104, TIMBERWOLVES 94
BOSTON — Kevin Garnett had 18 points and 10 rebounds and remained unbeaten against his former team as Boston beat Minnesota in Rajon Rondo’s return from a two-game suspension.
The Celtics improved to 10-0 against Minnesota since they acquired Garnett from the Timberwolves during the summer of 2007.
Boston went 1-1 without Rondo, suspended for his role in a scuffle during a game against the Brooklyn Nets last Wednesday. Rondo had 17 points and 11 assists, Paul Pierce scored 18, Jason Terry 17 and Brandon Bass 12 for the Celtics.
Kevin Love had 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Nikola Pekovic scored 14 for the T-Wolves.
WARRIORS 104, PISTONS 97
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Klay Thompson scored 19 of his 27 points in the third quarter to help Golden State pull away to beat Detroit.
The Warriors, starting a seven-game Eastern trip, snapped Detroit’s five-game winning streak at home. Golden State has won two straight games in Detroit after losing 25 of 29.
Stephen Curry finished with 22 points and 10 assists, his fourth straight 20-10 game, while David Lee added 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Warriors.
Tayshaun Prince was the only Pistons starter to reach double figures with 24 points. Rodney Stuckey had 17 points and fellow reserve Andre Drummond had 15 points and 12 rebounds.
HAWKS 108, NUGGETS 104
ATLANTA — Josh Smith’s steal, jam and free throw with 31 seconds remaining extended Atlanta’s lead and the Hawks held on to beat Denver.
Smith had 16 points and 13 rebounds on his 27th birthday, while Al Horford led the Hawks with 25 points and 12 rebounds.
Ty Lawson paced Denver with a season-high 32 points and Corey Brewer added 19.
Lawson’s 3-pointer gave the Nuggets a 101-99 advantage before Horford hit a tying jumper.
Lou Williams made two free throws to put Atlanta up by two before Smith stole the ball from Lawson and completed a fast break with a dunk over Brewer, who was called for a foul.
BULLS 95, CAVALIERS 85
CLEVELAND — Marco Belinelli scored a season-high 23 points, Luol Deng added 22 and Chicago took control early on to beat Cleveland.
Belinelli, starting his second straight game in place of injured shooting guard Richard Hamilton, helped the Bulls bounce back from a four-point home loss to Indiana on Tuesday. They went ahead for good less than two minutes in and shot 66.7 percent in the first quarter.
The Cavaliers have lost 13 of 15 and are 2-7 since point guard Kyrie Irving broke his left index finger last month. Anderson Varejao recorded his 10th straight double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds — his 10th straight game with at least 15 boards.
KINGS 107, RAPTORS 100
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — DeMarcus Cousins had 25 points and 13 rebounds to help Sacramento beat Toronto for only its third win in the last 12 games.
The Kings used strong fourth-quarter play from Cousins and Tyreke Evans to earn a rare victory. Sacramento suffered an embarrassing 35-point loss Sunday against the Clippers.
Evans, back in the starting lineup after missing the past two games with a bruised left knee, scored 10 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter. Jason Thompson added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings, while John Salmons scored 12 and Aaron Brooks 11.
Kyle Lowry scored 29 of his 34 points in the second half for the Raptors.
JAZZ 87, MAGIC 81
SALT LAKE CITY — Al Jefferson scored a season-high 31 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead Utah over Orlando.
Jefferson had just eight points at halftime but scored 17 in the third quarter and was the difference down the stretch as the Jazz held off a furious Orlando comeback attempt.
Orlando trailed by 14 in the first half and by 11 entering the fourth but took a 79-78 lead on Glen Davis’ powerful jam.
Randy Foye’s 3-pointer and back-to-back jumpers by Jefferson sealed it for Utah.
Davis led Orlando with 18 points, Jameer Nelson had 17 and Arron Afflalo added 16.