Knicks 111-107 Bucks
The game certainly lived up to its billing as both squads truly played like a playoff spot was on the line tonight, but New York came out victorious at the end after scoring the final 6 points of the game.
Following the blowout at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Bucks fans had reason to be nervous early. The Knicks raced out to an early lead, and found themselves up 36-27 after the first quarter. Rather than allow it to weigh them down, however, the Bucks quickly stamped out the fire and roared back to turn the tables in the 2nd quarter, which they won 35-26. Entering the halftime break, the teams were tied 62-62 on the strength of hot shooting from both sides. New York shot a blistering first-half 61% from the field, but Milwaukee wasn’t too far back with a nice 55% clip of their own. The Knicks also outrebounded the Bucks, 21-16 in the first half. Monta Ellis raced off to 21 first-half points on 8-12 shooting and 2-4 from distance. He also had 7 assists and 4 steals in a ridiculous first half for the new Buck who’s fitting in perfectly.
The 3rd quarter was neck-and-neck the whole way, with no one holding a lead higher than 4 points until the Bucks went up 83-78 with just over 2 minutes to go in the quarter. Iman Shumpert hit a floater at the buzzer to pull the Knicks within 4 as the Bucks led 88-84 going into the final quarter. Milwaukee won the quarter 26-22.
The 4th quarter was just as tight, with no team holding a lead larger than 6 the whole quarter. J.R. Smith knocked down a 3 to give his team a 108-107 lead with about a minute remaining, and the Bucks followed with a fruitless possession that saw multiple offensive rebounds and 0 points. From there, they had to foul, and Steve Novak knocked down both free throws to give the Knicks a 110-107 lead. Jennings then missed a 3 with about 14 seconds left, and the Bucks had to foul New York again. 1 free throw later, the Bucks were 2 possessions away, and a last-ditch effort from Ellis fell short as the Bucks fell, 111-107.
Ellis easily had his best performance in a Bucks jersey tonight, shooting 14-25 from the field and 3-6 from range en route to a game-high 35 points. He grabbed 6 rebounds, and also dished 10 assists to pick up his first double-double since coming over to Milwaukee.
Anthony was not far behind Ellis throughout the game, as he kept pace with 32 points of his own on 13-26 shooting. He also grabbed 10 rebounds, and helped the Knicks keep pace and eventually overtake the Bucks in the 4th quarter.
The Ellis-Jennings backcourt experiment continues to thrive, with Jennings shooting 10-20 on his way to 22 points of his own. He also dished 7 assists. The duo was as dynamic as ever, but they did not receive enough help from anyone else besides Mike Dunleavy (the only other Buck in double figures, with 19 points).
Well, this one hurts. That said, the Bucks are still only 2 games back of both final playoff spots, and it’s certainly still possible, if the Bucks stop losing and put themselves into the playoffs. A Friday night visit to Detroit at 7:00 P.M. may be a godsend.
Fear the Deer!