The New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks engaged in an emotionally-draining game Wednesday night at the Bradley Center, setting up a pair of attractive wagers for Friday night’s card in the NBA.

The Knicks and Bucks played a sloppy first half of basketball, which ended tied at 62, before the Knicks rallied from an eight-point, fourth-quarter deficit (94-86) and scored the game’s final six points to post a dramatic 111-107 victory.

Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 32 points and J.R. Smith hit a crucial three-pointer with 1:04 remaining in regulation to give the Knicks what Anthony described as “the biggest win of the season.”

Milwaukee head coach Scott Skiles watched his team disintegrate late in the fourth quarter as the Bucks missed eight of their last ten shots to fall two games behind the Knicks in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Skiles was at a loss for words when describing the bitter loss and felt his team’s chances to qualify for the postseason took a major hit.

No matter the sport, I like to play against teams exiting highly-emotional games in which both clubs are forced to compete the entire length of the game.

Milwaukee’s outstanding backcourt duo of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings each logged 41 minutes while New York rookie and defensive specialist Iman Shumpert (42) and offensive superstar Carmelo Anthony (41) played more than 40 minutes apiece.

FRIDAY’S BEST BETS.….Play 509 WASHINGTON WIZARDS +10.5 over the New York Knicks. Don’t look now but the Wizards are playing good basketball over the past couple of games. John Wall looks sharp, Jordan Crawford is an offensive threat and Kevin Seraphin is coming off a 24-point, 13-rebound performance in a 93-85 win over Orlando. Granted, Seraphin’s big numbers came against a Magic team playing without Dwight Howard, but Seraphin is averaging 16 points and eight rebounds in seven April starts.

Play 518 DETROIT PISTONS +4.5 over the Milwaukee Bucks. Greg Monroe will be difficult to stop for a Milwaukee team lacking a legitimate low-post center. The fast-improving Monroe has averaged 22 points and 12 rebounds in three meetings against the Bucks this season. Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey match up well with Milwaukee’s backcourt tandem of Ellis and Jennings. I think the Bucks will be life-and-death to win this game, let alone win by five or more points.

COMING MONDAY…..Gambling notes from the first full week of the MLB season.

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