NEW YORK - (AP) - Carmelo Anthony's debut on the big stage was ahuge hit.
Anthony had 27 points and 10 rebounds, hitting a pair of clutchbuckets down the stretch as New York beat the Milwaukee Bucks114-108 on Wednesday night in his Knicks debut.
Anthony made only 10 of 25 shots but was at his best in theclosing minutes, helping New York hold on after fellow superstarAmare Stoudemire fouled out. He matched the third-highest scoringgame in a Knicks debut since 1964, just two points shy of Keith VanHorn's 29 on Oct. 29, 2003.
Chauncey Billups, who came with Anthony from Denver in Tuesday'sblockbuster trade, finished with 21 points and eight assists as theKnicks won their third straight. Toney Douglas scored 23 points andStoudemire had 19.
John Salmons scored 27 points for the Bucks.
With fans chanting for both Anthony and Billups in the finalminute, New York matched its win total from last season with its29th victory - but now the Knicks have much bigger plans than that.
The Knicks have never had a winning season since Anthony enteredthe NBA and are mired in a franchise-worst stretch of nine straightlosing seasons. Their revival began when Stoudemire signed lastsummer and reached a new level Wednesday when Anthony walked out ofthe tunnel onto the floor where he came in averaging 30.4 points,just off Kobe Bryant's 30.5 for tops among active players.
He said before the game the Knicks could score 120 points pergame, and they weren't far off even without any real practice timein their first game together.
Milwaukee was down four when Anthony drove the baseline for adunk with 1:18 remaining, and his tough bucket in the lane with theshot clock running down with 26 seconds left made it 108-102.
He added two free throws with 11.4 seconds remaining, fanschanting "Melo! Melo!" as he sank them for a six-point edge.Billups was serenaded with a "Chauncey Billups!" chant he laterwent to the line.
The Knicks gave up a lot to land them, surrendering startersDanilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov and top reserveWilson Chandler. But they insisted the price was worth it for thechance to pair Anthony along with Stoudemire, with both locked uplong term after Anthony signed a contract extension on his way outof Denver.
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