By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
BUCKS 101, KNICKS 98 | BMO HARRIS BARDLEY CENTER
How it Happened:
Like the last time they played in Milwaukee, the Knicks were in position to force overtime against the scrappy young Bucks. After a slow start, they had fought their way back and even had a chance to win going into the game's final seconds.
But unlike the last meeting, which the Knicks pulled out after two extra periods, tonight did not go New York's way. Nine missed free throws proved costly, and Brandon Knight made the game-winning three-pointer with two seconds left on the clock to put the Bucks ahead for good.
The Knicks trailed by 10 with eight minutes to play, but Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith would not let the game get away as they took turns making big shots down the stretch. Melo scored 17 of his game-high 36 points in the 4th quarter and Smith delivered a season-high 30 points in a return to his familiar role of 6th man with Iman Shumpert back in the lineup.
But the stellar performances by the two scorers was not enough, as Milwaukee started fast and managed to hold off every Knicks run. New York fought back from an early 11-3 deficit to tie the game, only to give up a 28-14 run to end the first half.
As the Knicks began to heat up in the second half, Bucks youngsters Giannis Antetokounmpo (15 points), Khris Middleton (19 points on 5-6 from 3) and Knight (25 points) kept the pressure on.
Knick of the Night:
Smith gets the nod over Anthony because of his consistent, positive impact on the game. The team started to rally as soon as he entered the game, and his energy translated not only with his scoring, but with seven rebounds and three assists.
After their first road game in nearly three weeks, the Knicks will return to the Garden to face the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.