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Golden State Warriors' Jarrett Jack, left, and New York Knicks' Iman Shumpert dive for a loose ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK -- Warriors point guard Stephen Curry scored 54 points, joining an elite group of NBA players to top 50 at the famed Madison Square Garden.

But Curry's performance for the ages fell four points short as the Knicks hung on for a 109-105 win.

Curry obliterated his previous career-high (42) and became the 13th player to reach the 50-point plateau at the Garden. It's the most points scored in what's known as the Mecca of basketball since Michael Jordan scored 55 in 1995.

Curry was 18 of 28 shooting, including 11 of 13 from 3-point range. He also had seven assists and six rebounds.

Golden State needed a big game from Curry since All-Star David Lee was not in the lineup. Lee was suspended for one game for his role in the skirmish at Indiana on Tuesday, leaving the Warriors down two starters -- center Andrew Bogut missed his fourth straight game (back) -- and minus a major chunk of their offense.

Curry did all he could to fill the void. He scored 16 points in the fourth quarter as the Warriors (33-25) came ever-so-close to stealing a win over the Knicks (34-20).

With about five minutes left, he collected a loose ball and pushed it up court. Despite having a two-on-one advantage, Curry pulled up on the fast break and drained a 25-footer, giving the Warriors a 100-99 lead.


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But New York had an answer each time. Guard J.R. Smith, who had 26 points off the bench, answered with a 3-pointer at the 4:42 mark.

Curry put the Warriors back up 103-102 with another 3-pointer, sending a gasp through the Garden. Golden State had a chance to add to the lead, but Curry turned it over. That led to a 3-pointer from Carmelo Anthony, who had 35 points and eight assists, putting the Warriors down 105-103.

A pair of Curry free throws tied the game at 105. But the Warriors came up empty their last three possessions, as Knicks guard Raymond Felton blocked Curry's pull-up, and guard Jarrett Jack and center Festus Ezeli committed turnovers.

The Warriors had 18 turnovers, giving them 70 so far on the road trip.

Anthony put the Knicks up four with a jumper. The Warriors had a chance to cut it to one, but Thompson missed two wide-open 3-pointers as the Knicks shamelessly double-teamed Curry.

Curry missed his first 3-pointer of the game and only had four points in the first quarter. But the Warriors' fourth-year guard went bananas in the second quarter, scoring 23 points.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (C) drives between New York Knicks forward Kenyon Martin (3) and guard Pablo Prigioni (9) in the second quarter
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (C) drives between New York Knicks forward Kenyon Martin (3) and guard Pablo Prigioni (9) in the second quarter of their NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York, February 27, 2013. (Ray Stubblebine/Reuters)

It began innocuously with a driving finger roll at the 9:30 mark. Just 15 seconds later, he nailed his first 3-pointer, cutting the Knicks once-12-point lead to 32-28. It was part of a string where Curry scored 11 straight points for the Warriors.

His 3-pointer at the 5:14 mark put Golden State ahead 40-37.

The Warriors trailed 58-55 at the half. Curry had 27 points, giving him 50 first-half points over the last two games.

On his first shot of the second half, Curry showed he was still feeling, drilling a 3-pointer to cut the Knicks' lead to 61-60. Not two minutes later, he dropped in another 3-pointer then converted a driving layup to give the Warriors a 67-65 lead.

With the time winding down in the third, and the Knicks bringing help, Curry spun off a screen and drilled a 37-footer over the outstretched hands of Knicks big man Amar'e Stoudemire, sending chills through the Garden.

Through three quarters, he had 38 points on 13 of 21 shooting.

He capped the quarter by dribbling down some clock, spinning away from a defender and drilling pull-up 3-pointer from 27 feet over Amar'e Stoudemire. Golden State trailed 84-81 entering the fourth quarter.