Bucks Vs. Knicks: Carmelo Anthony Leads 'Bockers To Big, Ugly Win

Mar. 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Steve Novak (16) gestures during the first half against the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

The Knicks took a huge game from the Bucks in the Garden on Monday night, winning 89-80 to take a commanding 2.5-game lead in the race for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks are battling for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, and they played the first of their two remaining head-to-head contests Monday night. Despite playing without Amare Stoudemire (back) and Jeremy Lin (knee), the Knicks won at home, 89-80, behind Carmelo Anthony's hard-fought 28 points and 12 rebounds.

The Bucks (22-27) had won the previous two meetings between these teams, but that was before the big trade that netted them Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh. They had been playing better of late, but they couldn't hit any shot Monday. Mike Dunleavy scored 14 points in less than three minutes to close out the first quarter and finished with 26, but no one else had anything going, least of all Ellis, who had just four points on 2-14 shooting. They shot 36.5 percent as a team with 19 turnovers, and that's not the way to close the gap on a team that's now 2.5 games up in the playoff race.

The Knicks didn't have a much better shooting night — in fact they shot worse, at 35.1 percent — but they were helped by a 30-35 night from the foul line compared to 12-18 for the Bucks. 'Melo was 12-12 from the line himself, making up for his rough shooting night from the field (8-20). Tyson Chandler was a monster on the boards, tipping out everything, and even drawing fouls on Dunleavy and Carlos Delfino because of his activity on the offensive glass. He finished with 13 points, nine rebounds, but if tips counted, he'd have maybe had a 13-20 game.

For more on these teams check out Knicks blog Posting and Toasting and SB Nation New York and Bucks blog Brew Hoop.

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