MILWAUKEE (AP) — Carmelo Anthony may be playing better than ever.
Anthony scored 29 points to lead the New York Knicks to a 102-88 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.
Anthony, who sat out the fourth quarter, was 9 of 18 from the floor and also grabbed eight rebounds in 30 minutes. The second-leading scorer in the NBA has scored at least 29 points in his last four games, including 35 points and 13 rebounds in a 96-89 overtime loss at Brooklyn on Monday.
“He’s playing at an all-time high, I think,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “And it’s a beautiful thing to watch.
“He’s just been solid, and it’s kind of nice to see. He’s put a lot of time in this summer with the Olympics, and it carried over to the summer program when we got back. He came to vet camp in great shape, and it’s been a nice carry-over to the season.”
Steve Novak added a season-best 19 points in a career-high, 39-plus minutes, and Tyson Chandler chipped in with 17 points and eight rebounds for the Knicks, who snapped a three-game road losing streak.
“Coach gave me good minutes; great opportunity to be out there,” said Novak, who grew up in the area and also played at Marquette University. “I was feeling good and Coach had confidence in me. There’s no place like playing at home. That’s just true. Playing at the Garden is unbelievable, and being at home. There’s nothing like those two places.
“I do know these rims well. I’ve shot a few shots on these.”
Jason Kidd missed his second game in a row for New York with lower back spasms. But he wasn’t needed, as New York starters Chandler and Kurt Thomas also sat out the fourth.
No Milwaukee starters played the final period. Beno Udrih scored a season-high 18 points, as did Brandon Jennings.
“The things we wanted to do, that we talked about before the game like making Carmelo have an inefficient game and controlling their 3-point shots, neither one of those happened,” Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said.
The Bucks, who have lost four of their last five games, also got 17 points and seven assists from Monta Ellis.
“We just didn’t seem as prepared as we needed to be,” Skiles added. “We were a little bit loose with the ball. Again, you have to give their team –they’ll play a lot of smalls out there with one big guy. They put a lot of pressure on you. You have to be sharp and we weren’t.”
Milwaukee overcame a 27-point, second-half deficit to beat Chicago on Monday, but there was no rally this time after giving up the first 10 points of the second half to fall behind 68-48 on Anthony’s short jump shot with 9:38 to play.
“I was just taking what they was giving,” Anthony said. “If they put a bigger guy on me, I’d try to get it to the hole. If they put (someone smaller) on me, I was trying to get down in the paint, and stay aggressive. Tonight was one of those nights I made shots and tried to make the game easier for myself.”
Milwaukee responded by scoring the next seven points, including a layup by Larry Sanders to trim the margin to 68-55 with 7:32.
The closest the Bucks would get was 98-86 with 2 minutes left in the game on a basket by Udrih.
“Big leads are not big in this league,” Woodson said. “You’ve just got to play for 48 minutes and you get it done.”
The last time Milwaukee led was 31-30 on a layup by Udrih with 8:25 remaining in the second quarter. New York had a 45-44 edge before using a 9-0 run to take control. It started with a 3-pointer by Anthony.
Three straight turnovers by Milwaukee all led to layups, including one by Raymond Felton for New York’s biggest lead of the first half, 54-44, with 55 seconds left.
Notes: New York improved to 5-4 on the road. The Knicks are 5-0 at home. … Novak’s previous career high for minutes was 38, set at Portland on Feb. 22, 2009. … John Henson made his second start for Milwaukee. The rookie also did Monday for the first time. Skiles used his third different starting lineup in three games. He used the same starting five for the first 10 games. .. Kurt Thomas also made his second start for New York. He did not play in three of the previous five games. … Three of the next four Bucks’ games are on the road.
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