Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points, delivering his highest total in two months without the injured Amare Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin, and the New York Knicks beat the Milwaukee Bucks 89-80 on Monday night to increase their lead for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth.
Shortly after learning Stoudemire was lost indefinitely with a bulging disk in his back, the Knicks opened a 2 1/2-game lead over the Bucks and prevented Milwaukee from winning the season series and clinching the tiebreaker if they finish with the same record.
Baron Davis scored 13 points in his first start in place of Lin, who has a sore right knee. Tyson Chandler also had 13 and Iman Shumpert 11 as the Knicks overcame the absences of their second- and third-leading scorers.
But they won this one with defense, limiting Milwaukee to 36.5 percent shooting and containing high-scoring guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. Jennings shot 6 of 22 for 15 points, and Ellis made only two of 14 shots for four points.