Steve Novak scored 18 points, J.R. Smith added 13 and Tyson Chandler scored 13 for the Knicks, who won their fifth in a row and moved 1½ games clear of Miami for the best record in the Eastern Conference.
LeBron James nearly picked up his second consecutive triple-double 31 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists – in Miami’s second loss in a row.
Anthony sat out, one night after needing five stitches to close a cut on the middle finger of his left hand.
Anthony had been listed as a game-time decision. The Knicks released a lineup about 30 minutes before game time saying Anthony would start, then announced the change minutes later.
Kurt Thomas was switched into the lineup in Anthony’s place.
BRYANT’S MILESTONE: Kobe Bryant grinned and uttered the word “irony” as he considered the fact that the team that drafted him nearly 17 years ago was his opponent on the night he eclipsed a scoring milestone to join an exclusive club of NBA greats.
It’s easy to forget that it was the Hornets who drafted and then traded Bryant away back in 1996.
In the years since, the Hornets have changed cities, from Charlotte to New Orleans, and Bryant has become one of five players in NBA history to score 30,000 points, surpassing the mark with a 29-point performance that helped the Lakers to a 103-87 triumph Wednesday night.
“It’s funny how sports always seems to kind of have that connectivity, in some shape, form or fashion,” Bryant said. “It just always seems to come full circle.”
Bryant entered the game needing 13 points to make history and no one doubted he would get it. NBA Commissioner David Stern, who happened to be making a scheduled visit with new Hornets owner Tom Benson, offered Bryant a congratulatory hand shake before tip-off.
Bryant had 17 points by halftime, eclipsing the 30,000-mark with a short jumper in the paint over Robin Lopez late in the first half.