Carmelo Anthony called it a ‘statement game’–and the Knicks responded. Behind Anthony’s 43 points, the Knicks willed themselves to 100-99, overtime win over the Conference leading, Chicago Bulls. Granted, this was Derrick Rose’s first game back from a 12-game injury related¬†absence, but the reigning MVP showed no rust as he dropped 29 points in the loss.

Since arriving in New York last year, Knick fans have been waiting for Melo to step up. Melo’s go-ahead, three-pointer with eight scores to go in overtime was all Knick fans needed to see. Melo has been brutalized in New York for his lack of leadership. However, Melo silenced all of his critics with that big shot.

Without the help of Jeremy Lin and Amar’e Stoudemire, the Knicks will only go as far as Carmelo takes them. The 29-27 Knicks currently sit in seventh place in Eastern conference with 12 games to go. The struggling 76ers and resurgent Milwaukee Bucks are within one game of the Knicks and one of these teams will miss the playoffs. ¬†The Knicks are four games behind the Orlando Magic for the sixth seed, so barring a late season collapse by Orlando, the Knicks will face either the Bulls or Heat in Round 1 of the playoffs. The Bulls will have a shot at redemption on Tuesday night and the Heat come to the Garden next Sunday, but Sunday’s win gives this Knick team confidence as it heads towards the playoffs.