The New York Knicks beat the Milwaukee Bucks 89-80 on Monday night at Madison Square Garden despite the absence of starting players Jeremy Lin and Amare Stoudemire due to injuries,
The win brings the Knicks back to an even .500 record for the season. It was their seventh victory in the last eight games. The Bucks won their previous five road games, so the loss at MSG came as a surprise.
The Knicks knew they would be playing without starting point guard Jeremy Lin, but the news that Stoudemire was also out with a back injury came at the last minute. Lin is expected to return soon, but Stoudemire is listed as being out of commission indefinitely, though an MRI scan indicates he will not require surgery.
Carmelo Anthony led the team in scoring with 28 points (his highest per game since he returned following a groin injury) in 34 minutes of play, grabbing 12 rebounds off the board. Tyson Chandler scored 13 points and nine rebounds. Baron Davis added 13 points and dished out seven assists in Jeremy Lin's absence, Iman Shumpert scored 11 points and six assists, and J.R. Smith added another nine points and 10 rebounds.
Milwaukee was led by Mike Dunleavy, who scored 26 points, five rebounds and three assists (but missed three straight shots in a scoreless fourth quarter for the Bucks). Brandon Jennings scored 15 points, six rebounds and five assists, and Beno Udrih added nine points to the Bucks' score.
The Knicks won the game thanks to a strong defense, which has been cultivated by their interim coach. Mike Woodson stepped in after Mike D'Antoni mysteriously resigned following a losing streak and rumors that he was not getting along with Melo. New York was able to keep the Bucks offense in check and shut down both Jennings and Monta Ellis, Milwaukee's high-scoring point guards.
After a shaky first half, New York finally took the lead in Monday night's game in the third quarter with a 21-12 run. In the fourth the Knicks pushed harder, gaining a 10-point lead (84-74) with three minutes left on the clock.
The New York Knicks will go on to play the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. Lin is expected to be back in the starting lineup in time for the game.
Full highlights, Melo scores 28 points: