Knicks blow 25-point lead but beat Bucks 90-83

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 30, 2013
Carmelo Anthony had 19 points and 10 rebounds, making a pair of baskets in a finishing run after New York had blown a 25-point lead, and the Knicks beat the Milwaukee Bucks 90-83 on Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams. Seemingly coasting to a second straight opening-night blowout, the Knicks instead were behind with less than 3 minutes remaining before Tyson Chandler's follow dunk and two straight baskets by Anthony put them back ahead by five. Chandler added another basket in the Knicks' 10-2 run to close out their sixth straight victory over the Bucks. Raymond Felton added 18 points and Iman Shumpert had 16 for the Knicks, who shot 51 percent but committed 22 turnovers. Gary Neal scored 16 points and fellow newcomer Caron Butler had 14 for the Bucks, who opened on the road for the 29th consecutive year. Butler's 3-pointer tied it at 80 with 4:40 to play and the Bucks then took their first lead of the game on John Henson's free throw with 3:13 remaining. New York went back ahead on Chandler's follow dunk, then Anthony had a tip-in and a basket in the lane to make it 86-81 with 1:14 to go. O.J. Mayo knocked down a jumper before another basket by Chandler and a layup by Felton closed out a game that looked as if it would be an easy victory in the first half. The Knicks beat Miami by 20 last year in their opener, the springboard to a 6-0 start that carried them to their first Atlantic Division title since 1994. But they got sloppy in the third quarter of this one, and without Amare Stoudemire and Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith, were missing a couple of players who could've helped them get back on track offensively. Smith is suspended the first five games of the season after violating the NBA's anti-drug program. Stoudemire dressed but didn't play. Coach Mike Woodson, trying to keep Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin healthy, plans to limit their minutes and apparently not let either play on both nights of back-to-backs. Stoudemire will play Thursday in Chicago and Martin will rest. Already without Luke Ridnour because of a sore back, the Bucks then lost starting point guard Brandon Knight to a strained right hamstring in the opening minutes of the game, forcing them to go a long way with rookie Nate Wolters from South Dakota State. The Bucks then struggled to do anything offensively, managing just 13 points in the second quarter as the Knicks opened a 56-31 lead at halftime. Milwaukee had 16 turnovers and just 13 baskets in the half. Notes: Knicks general manager Steve Mills, saying he was sticking to the plan he and Carmelo Anthony discussed, refused to say if the Knicks would offer a contract extension when allowable in February. Anthony has said he plans to opt out of his contract and become a free agent. ... The Bucks will use their home floor from the 2012-13 season for at least the first few weeks of the season, including the home opener Saturday against Toronto. NBA and team officials inspected the new floor at the Bradley Center this week and determined it needed to be resurfaced after players slipped during last week's exhibition game against the Raptors, forcing referees to call it off midway through the first quarter.
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