On Friday Night, at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks (29-15) defeated the Milwuakee Bucks (24-21), by the score of 96-86. Box Score
Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points to lead the Knicks in scoring. He was 7-22 from the floor and has now scored 20+ in 31 consecutive games. He also had eight rebounds, six assists, but seven turnovers.
Ersan Ilyasova led the Bucks in scoring with 19 points, 16 in the first half, while shooting 7-11 from the field. He was 0-3 with 3 points in the second half. Monta Ellis scored 16 points and Brandon Jennings only shot 5-18 while only scoring 14 points.
J.R. Smith and Amar’e Stoudemire led the way for the bench by each scoring 17 points. Smith had five rebounds, five three pointers and was a +21. Stoudemire added seven rebounds, one block, one steal and was 7-8 from the line.
Jason Kidd in his return from a back injury played 24 minutes and scored three points with three rebounds, one assist. one steal and one block.
Knicks have held opponents to under 100 points in eight of their past ten games.
The Bucks only shot 32% from the field in the second half.
The Knicks out-rebounded the Bucks 50-40.
This was the Knicks fourth consecutive win over the Bucks
The Knicks have now won three in a row at home after a 4-6 stretch at the Garden
The Knicks are now only 1/2 game behind the Miami Heat for the top spot in the Eastern Conference
Well, that was most certainly a tale of two halves for the Knicks tonight.
In the first half, as Clyde would put it, the Knicks defense was of the Swiss Cheese variety as the Bucks after starting 2-10 looked like they couldn’t miss. The Knicks were down by as many as 12 in the first half and early in the third. Frustration was rising and Robert Randolph had once again cursed us to another loss on a Friday night. But, the Knicks defense started to play with a lot more energy and Milwaukee went ice cold from field at the 5 minute mark of the third.
With 5:27 left in the third, the Bucks led 66-57 and were outscored 39-20 the rest of the way. Not a bad way to close out the game and put away a pesky Bucks team, whom they could play in the first round of the playoffs.
This was the kind of win where they have plenty to work on but you see that when it comes all together, they can be very hard to beat. This was a good win tonight, and now they have a short turnaround to see if they can get another win at home, this time over the Kings.
– Slow starts are a major problem and I really don’t know what it’s going to take to get them out of these early game funks. They have been able to get past them recently, but this idea of just turning it on in the second half wont work every time. It takes a lot out of a team to try to make a comeback in the NBA and the Knicks had to work pretty hard to get this win. It will be interesting to see if the Knicks can finally get out of this trend of slow starts and play a complete game.
– The Knicks front line of Tyson, Amar’e and Melo are really starting to put it together and succeed with and without each other on the court. Tyson has been doing a great job of being more assertive and has become the kind of rebounder we expected coming into the season after a slow start. Amar’e still has his poor moments defensively but those new found post moves that cost him a cool fifty grand was money well spent. Amar’e definitely has much better skill set offensively than we have seen in the past and as he gets more games under his belt, they can better. When it comes to Melo, well is the best player on the team and plays like that almost every night. Nothing else really to say about him.
– The Bucks are a dangerous team and I think could be a very tough first round match-up for the Knicks. The way they played in the first half showed the kind of potential this team has. Of course what you saw in the second half is the kind of stuff that keeps you from getting over the hump and staying in the 7-8 spots in the East. The Bucks have a solid core to build around, especially on the front line, but I will be surprised of Ellis and Jennings stick around to see if it all comes together.
– Scary moment when Felton was in pain after his hand got hit in the second half. He has told the media that if he were to break the finger again, he could be out 2-3 months. That is something that the Knicks really couldn’t afford. I think the situation would be similar to last year in terms of a revolving door of ball handlers. Luckily it seems like he will be ok and will play tomorrow.
The Knicks seem to have finally gotten over their mid-season malaise and are getting back on track as their schedule gets easier towards the break. Tonight was a good win because even though things had gone against them for most of the game, they were able to get their act together and pull away in the fourth. But, as I mentioned above, this is a trend that has got to stop. You rather it was easier than it has been the last few games. But, a win is a win and at the end of the day, that’s really all that matters.
Coming up next the Knicks will go for their fourth win in a row at home and get a measure of revenge for losing at the buzzer last game vs the Kings as they will welcome in DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans and the Sacramento Kings. The game is on Saturday at 7:30 pm and can be seen on MSG.