CARMELO ANTHONY scored 28 points to help the New York Knicks stay alive in the Eastern Conference semifinals with an 85-75 victory over the visiting Indiana Pacers in Game 5 last night.
Reserves J.R. Smith and Chris Copeland each had 13 points for the Knicks, who trail 3-2 and will need a victory tomorrow in Indiana to force a seventh game in New York on Monday. They are trying to become the ninth NBA team to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a series.
Anthony, who didn't make a basket in the fourth quarter of either game in Indiana, made a jumper midway through the final quarter last night after Indiana closed within four points. He followed with two free throws, Raymond Felton made a layup, and the Knicks were never in jeopardy again.
Paul George had 23 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Pacers, who played without point guard George Hill and committed 19 turnovers.
Hill suffered the concussion in the first half of Game 4 after a collision with Knicks center Tyson Chandler.
Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki said he's willing to take a pay cut if it will enable the Mavericks to sign a free agent who will help them return to the playoffs.
The 34-year-old Nowitzki, who has been with the Mavericks his entire 15 years in the league, will make $22.7 million in the final year of his deal.
"At this point of my career, it's all about competing and winning," Nowitzki. "It's not about money. Obviously, [owner Mark] Cuban took care of me for a long, long time. I always tried to pay him back by hard playing and being here for this franchise, so I don't think we're going to fight over money."
The Mavericks missed the playoffs this past season for the first time since 2000.
* Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel said he's ahead of schedule in his rehab from a torn left anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and expects it will not keep him from being the first pick in next month's NBA draft.
Noel said he doubts he'll make it for the start of the season because it would be a little over 6 months from his March surgery to the start of NBA camp.
If Noel doesn't go No. 1, Kansas guard Ben McLemore may become the first shooting guard since David Thompson 38 years ago to be the top pick overall.
* Ousted NBA players' association executive director Billy Hunter alleges in a lawsuit that president Derek Fisher, who plays for Oklahoma City, had a secret deal with owners during the 2011 lockout that benefited Fisher, his publicist and certain players.
Hunter contends that Fisher undermined Hunter's efforts to make an agreement and interfered with his position by secretly negotiating with select owners in violation of union bylaws.
Filed in California Superior Court, the suit seeks unspecified damages for defamation and breach of contract. It also names the National Basketball Players Association and Jamie Wior, Fisher's publicist, and says Fisher and Wior worked after the lockout ended "to terminate his employment without cause and in violation of his contract."
Hunter was ousted in February following an investigation into his business practices that found no illegal conduct but cited several conflicts of interest, questionable business decisions and hiring practices. Fisher finished the season with the Thunder.