NBA Game Summary - Milwaukee at New York
(Wednesday, February 23rd)
Final Score: New York 114, Milwaukee 108
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Carmelo Anthony lined up his first shot in a Knicks uniform, a 14-footer from the right elbow, and clanked it off the front of the rim.
Almost three hours later, with any potential butterflies likely long gone and a victory all but wrapped up, Anthony's New York debut had its finishing moment.
A sellout crowd filled famed Madison Square Garden with chats of "Melo! Melo!" as their new starting forward knocked down a pair of free throws in the final seconds.
Settling in after his first miss, and finishing off a hectic day that included an introductory press conference, Anthony scored 27 points with a team-high 10 rebounds to lead the Knicks to a 114-108 victory over Milwaukee on Wednesday.
"It was a lot," Anthony said about his day, "but the only thing that mattered was a win."
Fellow trade piece Chauncey Billups added 21 points, giving the two former Nuggets more than 42 percent of their new team's offensive output.
Billups, a seemingly reluctant part of the 13-player, three-team trade that brought him and Anthony to New York on Monday, led the team with eight assists and was a perfect 12-for-12 from the foul line to make up for a 4-for-12 performance from the floor.
"It was a good day. It was a really good day," said Billups. "We've gone through so much in the last few days and it was good to be able to [win] for the fans. It just felt good."
Amare Stoudemire scored 19 points, but was whistled for a potentially costly technical with 1:01 remaining when he threw his goggles. John Salmons hit a couple of free throws to get Milwaukee within four points, but the Knicks held on to win their third straight game with Anthony and Billups combining for six foul shots down the stretch.
Salmons scored 27 points to lead the Bucks, who fell to 3-9 in their last 12 games. Andrew Bogut added 14 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.
Wearing No. 7 for his new team, Anthony shot 10-of-25 from the field in more than 39 minutes, including 4-of-8 in the fourth quarter as he scored 11 points to help keep the Knicks above water.
"I was working on no sleep with the excitement of this whole thing going down," he said.
Besides a stretch late in the second quarter and early in the third, the Knicks basically controlled the game after scoring 33 points in the first 12 minutes.
Anthony's first shot was limp, but he finally scored his first points as a Knick on a putback 2:24 into the game after rebounding a Stoudemire miss. Later in the first, Billups hit him with a pass on the break and Anthony split three defenders for a tough bucket in the lane.
"It was a great step in his career," Stoudemire said of his new teammate.
During a press conference several hours before the game, Anthony called it "a dream come true" to be playing a home game in New York, just miles away from where he was born in Brooklyn.
He spoke of still feeling like a visiting player as he warmed up earlier in the day on the MSG hardwood. He couldn't escape that feeling during pre-game introductions, either, when he exited the tunnel a different way than he has in the past as a visitor.
His named was called first, of course, followed by Billups. But prior to that, the Knicks were very much focused on Anthony, showing one of their "I'm coming home" commercials on the screens inside the darkened arena.
Quotes by Anthony about New York City flashed in white letters on a black background, including the one about him wanting to be former Knick Bernard King. The crowd cheered throughout.
"The reaction was great," Anthony said. "I never experienced anything like that before."
Anthony won't be in New York for long. The team is heading out on a three-game road trip that starts in Cleveland and finishes with tough tests against Miami and Orlando, giving Anthony and the new-look Knicks a chance to see how they stack up against two of the Eastern Conference's best teams.
The Knicks sent forwards Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari, guard Raymond Felton and center Timofey Mozgov along with draft picks and cash to Denver in the trade.
In addition to Anthony and Billups, they received reserves Anthony Carter, Renaldo Balkman and Shelden Williams from the Nuggets. They got swingman Corey Brewer from the Timberwolves, sending forward Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry's expiring contract to Minnesota.
None of the other acquisitions played against the Bucks on Wednesday.
While it was New York's first game since the All-Star break, the Bucks had already opened the second half of their season with a victory over Minnesota on Tuesday...Wednesday was also the Knicks' third-annual Legends Night. Players honored during a halftime ceremony included Earl Monroe, Dick Barnett, Allan Houston, John Starks and Harry Gallatin. Mark Jackson missed the ceremony in the wake of his brother's death.
02/24 00:26:38 ET