The buzzer groaned, though it was hard to hear it cut through the swirling din — two fan bases, two boroughs, 17,732 voices belonging to 17,732 people who had stayed for every second of another beautiful basketball game.

As he saw the red light glow on the backboard, signaling to his eyes that the game was over, that the Knicks had stolen this 100-97 wrestling match with the Nets, Carmelo Anthony lifted a pair of weary fists toward the roof, accepted a hug from Jason Kidd, accepted a handshake from his coach, Mike Woodson.

"We claim to be a good team, we want to be a great team," Melo would say later, his voice raspy, his lip bloodied. "Well, a good team finds a way to win a game like that."

The Knicks, across 21 games, have established their credentials as a good team, occasionally have looked great, but rarely have looked as they did last night: utterly dependent on their franchise player. The Nets raced to a 17-point lead in the first quarter. The Knicks came back. The Nets ran back out to a 10-point lead in the third. The Knicks came back.

They came back because Carmelo Anthony had one of those games an extraordinary player has to have every now and again, a reminder that when a team happens to have the best guy on the court, no deficit is insurmountable, no chasm too steep. He scored 45 points, shot 15-for-24, refused to let the Knicks lose.