Knicks @ Bucks - BMO Harris Bradley Center
When: Wednesday | 8:00 PM
Where to Watch: MSG Networks
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
New York: Moments before the inaugural matchup between the Knicks and Nets in Brooklyn, head coach Mike Woodson had to adjust his starting lineup. Jason Kidd was not available due to lower back spasms, which led to a bigger five to start the contest. Woodson placed Brewer at shooting guard, Carmelo Anthony back at small forward, and veteran Kurt Thomas moved from the bench to the power forward spot next to Tyson Chandler. New York was resilient despite missing its Hall of Fame guard in the backcourt. Unfortunately, the Nets defended their home floor and dropped the 9-4 Knicks in their second lowest scoring output of the season. Kidd did not travel with the team to Milwaukee and is listed as day-to-day. Brewer was on the plane despite a dislocated left finger he suffered on Monday night. The off-guard is also listed as day-to-day heading into New York’s final road game of the week.
Milwaukee: This past summer, the Bucks decided to beef up their frontline to help balance the floor with an incredibly talented backcourt in place. Milwaukee acquired centers Samuel Dalembert and Joel Przybilla. Additionally, the team drafted big man John Henson out of North Carolina and former Kentucky guard Doron Lamb. The Bucks have their sights set on the postseason after just missing the playoffs in 2011-12 and finishing with a 31-35 overall record. Milwaukee won six of eight games to start the season but fell in three of four games prior to Wednesday’s matchup against the Knicks. As of Monday night, the 7-5 Bucks sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Last Time Out
New York: The Knicks suffered a 96-89 overtime defeat in the first battle in Brooklyn on Monday night. Anthony and Chandler scored a combined 63 points in the loss.
Milwaukee: In a stunning 27-point comeback, the Bucks topped the Bulls 93-92 on Monday night to snap a three-game losing streak.
The Numbers Game
Milwaukee recorded the largest increase in points per game from the ‘10-11 season to last year. This season, the Bucks rank 13th in the league in points per game at 99.3.
Match-up to Watch
Knicks Backcourt vs. Bucks Backcourt
Last year, Milwaukee rolled the dice by shipping center Andrew Bogut to Golden State in exchange for explosive shooting guard Monta Ellis. The gamble surrounds the ability for the two playmakers to co-exist successfully in the same offense. Through the first 12 games, Jennings and Ellis are combining to average 35.6 points, 12.2 assists, and 4.34 steals per game. Without Kidd in the lineup, Woodson will most likely use the same starting backcourt of Felton and Brewer. Both Bucks guards are gifted shooters from the perimeter but Ellis likes to use his speed and strength to attack defenders off the dribble. Jennings will search for space to release his step-back-jumper, especially against a strong point guard like Felton. J.R. Smith will definitely play a role off the bench to help counter the loss of Kidd in the lineup.
What to Look For
The Bucks are riding high after a shocking win on Monday night in Chicago. Milwaukee’s reserves put together a 31-4 blitz as part of the comeback victory, which included a much improved performance from Ersan Illyasova. Last year’s surprise power forward climbed out of an early season slump by scoring 14 of his 18 points in the second half. The Knicks will also have to limit Mike Dunleavy’s production as he averaged 17.8 points in four games against New York in the lockout season. Bench play could decide the outcome in Wednesday’s first meeting between the two teams. Milwaukee is deep with nine players averaging over seven points per game while the Knicks are missing Iman Shumpert, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Jason Kidd.