Knicks Just Stave Off Elimination at Garden
The New York Knicks made their 2011-12 season last at least one more game by beating the Miami Heat Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.
Trailing 44-38 at the half, the Knicks caught fire in the third quarter, outscoring the Heat 26-17 to take a three-point lead. Although Miami pulled within one in the game's final seconds, New York held on to win 89-87.
Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with an impressive 41 points. Amar'e Stoudemire showed no lingering effects from the hand injury that sidelined him in Game Three: He came up with 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Knicks.
Sunday's victory was the Knicks' first playoff win in more than 11 years. Their last came at Toronto on April 29, 2001.
Unfortunately, point guard Baron Davis left the game early with a knee injury. With Jeremy Lin's availability still uncertain for Game Five, the Knicks' depth at point guard may be sorely tested.
For now, though, New York fans are happy that there will be a Game Five at all. The Knicks will travel to Miami to face the Heat Wednesday night.
Rangers Lose in Washington, Win in New York
The New York Rangers' back-and-forth experience in the Eastern Conference semifinals continued this weekend. They lost, 3-2, to the Washington Capitals on Saturday before beating them 3-2 in overtime Monday.
Saturday's loss was a hard-fought contest that saw the Rangers trail twice in the first two periods. Goals from Artem Anisimov and Marian Gaborik tied the score at 1-1 and 2-2, respectively.
With less than six minutes to go in the third period, Washington defenseman Mike Green slapped a power-play goal past Henrik Lundqvist, giving the Capitals the win and tying the series at 2.
Returning to Madison Square Garden two nights later, the Rangers reclaimed their lead with a thrilling overtime win. This time, New York's Anton Stralman opened the scoring in the first period, but the Capitals scored in the second and third to take a 2-1 lead.
Just seconds away from what would have been a devastating home loss, Brad Richards drilled a shot past goaltender Braden Holtby to force overtime. The extra period didn't last long, as Mark Staal scored just 1:35 in to complete one of the greatest comebacks in franchise history.
The top-seeded Rangers now have a chance to advance to the conference finals by beating the Capitals in Washington on Wednesday. If not, Game Seven will be back at Madison Square Garden.
Mets Win Three Straight
After losing the first of three games at Citi Field against Arizona, the New York Mets rallied to win games two and three, then defeated the division rival Phillies on the road.
Friday's game started reasonably well for New York: Right-hander Dillon Gee was solid, giving up two runs in six innings of work, and the Mets' bats came up with four runs in the third inning to take the lead.
It all came apart in the eighth inning, though, as the Diamondbacks plated three runs against relievers Bobby Parnell, Tim Byrdak and Jon Rauch to win 5-4.
The Mets came up with another big inning one night later, scoring four in the fourth to back left-hander Johan Santana. Santana's seven-inning, three-run performance wasn't his best start of the year, but it was good enough for his first win since September 2010.
Behind a strong start from knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, the Mets won the rubber game in convincing fashion. They scored twice in the first thanks to Daniel Murphy's two-run single, and Dickey pitched eight-plus innings of one-run ball. Frank Francisco finished off Arizona for the 3-1 victory.
Unfortunately, shortstop Ruben Tejada suffered a right quad strain during Sunday's game and was placed on the 15-day disabled list. The timetable for his return is uncertain.
Nevertheless, playing against arguably the National League's best pitcher, the Mets came through with a thrilling victory on Monday.
The Phillies scored in the first and second innings to put the Mets in a 2-0 hole, and right-hander Roy Halladay managed to retire 13 straight batters in one stretch. New York battled back in the sixth inning, plating two runs on David Wright's double to tie the score.
The game remained tied until the ninth inning, when shortstop Jordany Valdespin, just recalled from the minor leagues to replace Tejada on the roster, cracked his first major league hit. His three-run home run off Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon gave the Mets a 5-2 win.
The Mets (16-13) will face the Phillies twice more this week, then travel to Miami for a weekend series against the Marlins.
Yankees Split Series in Kansas City
In the wake of a devastating injury to closer Mariano Rivera, the New York Yankees rallied to win two of their final three games in Kansas City.
Friday's game saw the Yankees score twice in the top of the first, but staff ace CC Sabathia gave up a two-run home run to tie the game. The big left-hander was nearly untouchable the rest of the way, though, holding the Royals scoreless in innings two through eight.
New York's Eduardo Nunez broke the tie with a triple in the seventh inning, and Derek Jeter blasted his fifth home run of the season to secure the 6-2 win.
The next night, New York's bats couldn't come up with anything against Kansas City starter Felipe Paulino. In his return from the disabled list, the Royals right-hander struck out six Yankees over six scoreless innings.
Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda struggled against the Royals, giving up three runs over 4.2 innings of work. Catcher Russell Martin hit a solo home run in the seventh inning, but that was it for the Yankees as they lost, 5-1.
After that frustrating night, the Yankees' offense came alive on Sunday and reached double figures in the series finale. New York scored six in the third, including four on Robinson Cano's grand slam, and ten runs overall.
Right-hander Phil Hughes held the Royals to three runs and struck out seven for his first quality start of the season as New York won, 10-4.
Over the weekend, Rivera announced that he will not allow an ACL tear to prematurely end his distinguished career. The 42-year-old will wait three to four weeks to have surgery on his injured knee, with an eye on a 2013 comeback.
The Yankees (15-13) will return to New York Tuesday for a six-game home stand against the Rays and Mariners.