New York's previous six wins had all come against non-playoff teams, but this was against a team that seemingly had returned to form after dropping a season-worst four in a row.
"The teams that we play, we feel like they're in our way. That's our motto right now. They're in our way and we don't want to let nothing stop that," Anthony said.
Stoudemire added 21 points and Tyson Chandler grabbed 14 rebounds for the Knicks, just 16-20 at home and four games behind Atlanta for the final East playoff spot.
Jackson met with coaches and players earlier Wednesday, then watched the game from a seat above center court, receiving loud applause when he was shown on the overhead screen during a first-quarter timeout.
The 11-time champion as a coach also was on the Knicks' only two title-winning teams as a player, and there was a different energy in the building during what's been a hugely disappointing season until recent days.
Woodson said before the game he wasn't angry that Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan had originally talked to Jackson in December about the coaching job, adding that "the city should be buzzing" over his return. (Not all of it is; a group of fans frustrated with Dolan's leadership of the franchise went through with a previously planned protest outside the arena before the game).
Hibbert scored 14 points in the third quarter to help Indiana wipe out nearly all of a 16-point deficit, and it was just a one-point game early in the fourth when George made just his second field goal. But the Knicks answered with eight in a row, going ahead 75-66 on Stoudemire's basket with 7:57 remaining, and Anthony spun for a dunk and knocked down a jumper for consecutive scores after Indiana trimmed it to five with under 4 minutes to go.