- Associated Press - Thursday, February 24, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — The crowd roared as soon as the words hit Madison Square Garden’s overhead video board.

“I was born in Brooklyn, New York,” it read.

And what a homecoming it was for Carmelo Anthony.

Anthony was an immediate star on his first day as a Knick, and he capped off his big day by scoring 27 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in a 114-108 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.

Already exhausted from the chaos of All-Star weekend and a cross-country trip to New York, it wasn’t surprising when he struggled with his shot for three quarters of his debut. But on a day that was all about him, Anthony could only think about the Knicks.

“To come in today, go straight from the press conference to the locker room, then got to get ready for a basketball game like this was a lot,” he said. “But at the end of the day, the only thing that matters was a win.”

Anthony made only 10 of 25 shots but was at his best in the closing minutes, helping New York hold on after fellow superstar Amare Stoudemire fouled out. He matched the third-highest scoring game in a Knicks debut since 1964, just two points shy of Keith Van Horn’s record 29 on Oct. 29, 2003.

“He played great. He played Carmelo basketball,” Stoudemire said. “That’s what I wanted him to do, to be himself out there.”

Friends since high school, Anthony and Stoudemire have craved this reunion since the moment Stoudemire signed here in July. But neither was certain it would happen as the Nuggets weighed trade offers from the Knicks and New Jersey Nets in the final days before the trade deadline.

Anthony was on his way to the airport, headed for that unwanted return to Denver, when the call he waited for all season finally came Monday night.

The one that makes him a brighter star, and maybe makes the Knicks a bigger threat come playoff time.

“I think New York needed a moment like this,” Anthony said.

So did Anthony.

After waiting since September while the Nuggets worked to send him to the only destination he wanted, Anthony finally arrived Wednesday, telling a packed news conference he is the right kind of person to deal with New York.

“Is it going to be an easy transition for me? No. Is it going to be a lot of challenges? Yes. Is there going to be a lot of expectations? Yes,” he said. “But I’m willing to accept all of them challenges.”

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