Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks shoot a free throw against the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden on February 23 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups Lead Knicks Past Bucks

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Carmelo Anthony The Main Piece, But Chauncey Billups Just As Important For Knicks

The New York Knicks probably aren’t going to win an NBA Championship this year. But does that mean the likes of the Heat, Celtics, and Bulls are looking forward to dealing with New York in a seven-game series? The answer is most certainly no. And while Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire have a lot to do with that, the secondary piece in the ’Melo mega-deal, Chauncey Billups, might be the biggest reason.

It’s a crime for anyone to overlook Billups’ importance for the Knicks for the remaining half of this season, the postseason, and next year. Even in last night’s sloppy win over the Bucks, in which Billups was clearly not on the same page with Stoudemire, Chauncey’s value was apparent. It’s not in the numbers (21 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds) , which were more impressive than the way in which he compiled them. He showed his savvy by getting to the free-throw line 12 times, knocking down all of them, including four in the final 20 seconds. Billups also drew a charge in the third quarter when the Knicks had let Milwaukee back in the game, and set up Toney Douglas late in the fourth for a big three-ball that just about sealed the game. And his already-there familiarity with Anthony should help speed up the Knicks’ process in getting on the same page offensively.

It’ll also be interesting to see Billups’ influence on Douglas. Rajon Rondo and Russell Westbrook raved about Billups and how he helped both of their games during the World Championships this past summer. Douglas has a lot of talent and potential, as shown with last nights 23 points, but he still has a long way to go in learning how to run a team and play an effective point guard. The Knicks could use solid backup point guard play, especially with Billups up there in age. If Douglas is wiling to learn from Billups, Mike D’Antoni would be better served to use Douglas in the backup point guard role, and less so at shooting guard.

There’s already been a lot of talk about whether this will be Stoudemire or Anthony’s team. But make no mistake. While Billups is here, he’s going to be the one directing the Knicks in crucial situations.

That’s a good thing.


Knicks 114, Bucks 108: Anthony, Billups Lead Knicks To Victory

New York, NY (Sports Network) – Carmelo Anthony’s first shot as a New York Knick, a 14-foot jumper from the right elbow, clanked off the front of the rim.

Settling in after that, Anthony scored 27 points and fellow trade piece Chauncey Billups added 21 to lead the Knicks to a 114-108 victory over Milwaukee on Wednesday.

Wearing No. 7, Anthony added a team-high 10 rebounds and knocked down two key free throws in the final moments that sealed New York’s third straight win, calmly making both shots as the Madison Square Garden fans chanted "Melo! Melo!" over and over again.

It hardly could have gone better for the newest Knicks.

Billups, a seemingly reluctant part of the 13-player, three-team trade that brought him and Anthony from Denver to New York, led the team with eight assists. He was a perfect 12-for-12 from the foul line to make up for a 4- for-12 performance from the floor.

John 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.

Final - 2.23.2011 1 2 3 4 Total
Milwaukee Bucks 24 33 22 29 108
New York Knicks 33 26 27 28 114

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