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Bet on the NBAWith their 91-86 on-the-road win against the Miami Heat, the New York Knicks have begun to prove that they are an NBA franchise that can compete with the elite teams like Miami, Chicago, and Boston. The addition of Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups has made the team much better, even if they are still woefully incomplete.

But it is because the Knicks are still building that they are so much fun to watch and to root for. Every time they beat a great NBA team, it feels like an upset, despite the fact that the team is good. In fact, they are better than good. In a year or two, they may be conference champions or NBA champions, after they fill the holes in the program.

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For now, though, let's just have fun watching this Knicks team, which may be right at the breaking-out point of greatness. In the game against the Heat, Anthony had 20 points, while Amare Stoudemire put in 16 points while grabbing 10 rebounds. Stoudemire also had a key block on LeBron James with only a few seconds left in the fourth quarter, which denied James a close layup and led to a foul.

Chauncey Billups, acquired in the same trade with the Denver Nuggets that brought Anthony to New York, also put in 16 points. He was an invaluable clutch players, scoring five points and stealing the ball twice in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter. Without his performance, the game may have gone the other way, especially his three-point field goal that put New York up by a point with one minute left on the clock.

Billups is a key player for New York right now, and possibly a more valuable acquisition from the Nuggets than Carmelo Anthony. His only real weakness at this point in his career is his defense. He brings experience and offense to the team, but will have difficulty in matchups with some of the elite small forwards in the league.

 

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