Updated at 12:32 a.m., April 6, 2013
NEW YORK (AP) — Carmelo Anthony gave fans his own reason to celebrate 40.
On the night the Knicks honored the 40th anniversary of their last championship team, Anthony finished with 41 points, tying a franchise record with this third straight 40-point game, and New York beat the Milwaukee Bucks 101-83 for its 11th straight victory.
Anthony, who had 50 points and 40 in his previous two games, equaled Bernard King’s 1984-85 mark. New York matched the third-longest winning streak in franchise history.
Anthony increased his scoring average to 28.3 points, right behind league leader Kevin Durant’s 28.4 heading into their matchup Sunday at Oklahoma City.
“It’s April, I guess. It’s April. It’s time to go,” Anthony said.
J.R. Smith added 30 points for the Knicks, who used a huge third quarter to turn around the game after a lackluster first half on the night they saluted their 1972-73 NBA championship team with a ceremony at halftime.
“That’s the last team here to win a championship and that’s what we want to accomplish,” said Tyson Chandler. “It’s a brotherhood. We’ve got to get into that brotherhood. We want to follow in their footsteps.”
Brandon Jennings scored 25 points for the Bucks and JJ Redick had 18.
After scoring just 36 points in the first half and trailing by nine, the Knicks poured in 42 in the third quarter, with Anthony scoring 18 and Jason Kidd ending the period with a 59-foot heave at the buzzer.
“That was a big third quarter for us,” Kidd said. “Everything was going in. When you have the legends in the house, you want to play well.”
Milwaukee led 57-48 after Jennings hit a jumper with 8:46 left in the third before the Knicks scored the next 16 points.
Anthony started the streak with a layup, free throw and short jumper. Smith followed with a 3-pointer and Anthony’s long jumper with 6:25 to go gave New York a 58-57 lead, its first since late in the first quarter.
The streak continued with a 3-pointer from Smith and concluded with Anthony’s 3-pointer with 4:47 left to put the Knicks ahead 64-57.
“When I first got to Denver, we were kind of a high-scoring duo,” Smith said. “But other than that, this is definitely the best its felt, us jelling together.”
The Bucks finally scored on Jennings’ layup with 4:26 left, but Raymond Felton hit a 3-pointer and Smith followed with two more as the Knicks ran off to a 78-66 lead after three quarters.
“We just turned it up another gear,” Felton said. “Melo got hot. J.R. got hot. I got hot. Everybody was really involved. When the game is like that, it’s really fun.”
The Bucks got as close as 87-81 on Redick’s 3-pointer with 4:39 remaining in the game, but the Knicks scored the next 11 points and ended the game on a 14-2 run.
“They got it going in the third,” Bucks coach Jim Boylan said. “I thought our defense was good in the first two quarters. It was a two-man show out there, Carmelo and J.R.
“You know Carmelo’s been on a tear and obviously continued again tonight. So it’s tough. We were battling down there but he started making some shots, they got out in transition a few times and we just couldn’t seem to slow them down.”
Milwaukee took its biggest lead of the game, 44-34, on Jennings’ two free throws with 1:05 remaining in the second quarter.
The Knicks’ 36 points at the half were the team’s lowest since scoring 36 against the Bulls on Jan. 11.
“We weren’t playing hard. The energy wasn’t there,” Felton said. “You don’t want to lose the streak, especially not at home. You don’t want to lose in front of the legends.”
The teams were tied at 19 after the first quarter, the Knicks’ lowest total in the opening period since scoring 18 against Indiana on Feb. 20.
Felton finished with nine points for the Knicks, while Anthony (14), Chandler (10) and Smith (10) each recorded double-digit rebounds.
Monta Ellis added 11 points for the Bucks and Larry Sanders had 12 rebounds.
“Just to know that (1972-73) team’s history and know what they were able to do and to see most of the guys come back here was an inspiration,” Anthony said. “They’re fans of ours just as much as we’re fans of theirs.”
And New Yorkers now have reason to be fans of both.
Notes: The Knicks’ last loss was a 93-80 defeat to the Clippers on March 17 in Los Angeles. … The Knicks have won five straight over the Bucks, including all three games this season. The Knicks’ last season sweep in the series was during the 1999-00 season. Milwaukee’s last win in the series came on March 9, 2012.
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