Knicks Close Strong, Topple Bucks 96-86

Jonah Ballow



How it happened:
The Knicks know when to flip the switch. Over the past couple games, New York has looked completely different in the second half and Friday night was a clear example of its ability to play at a high level on both ends of the floor.

Behind Carmelo Anthony’s 25 points, the Knicks slipped past the scrappy Bucks 96-86 at Madison Square Garden.

New York outscored Milwaukee 27-20 in the third frame and ended the period on an 8-3 spurt to take a 74-73 lead. During the first 8 minutes of the final period, the Knicks dominated the Bucks with suffocating defense and opportunistic offense. New York reeled off a 13-4 spurt in that time span while the road squad went ice cold, only hitting 2-of-10 attempts from the field.

The Knicks focused their attention on Ersan Ilyasova after he dropped 16 points in the first half on 7-for-8 shooting. The all-purpose big man for Milwaukee was held to zero points in the second half and only hoisted three shots.

The explosive backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis combined for 30 points but the two guards were limited to 12-of-38 from the floor.

From an offensive standpoint, Amar’e Stoudemire was a key contributor again off the bench with 17 points. J.R. Smith added 17, and Raymond Felton posted 17 in New York’s third consecutive home victory to improve to 29-15 on the season.

“If we played liked we did in the third and fourth quarter we would have won this going away.  You have to give Milwaukee credit.  They played a good first half but I thought our third and fourth quarter kicked in and secured the win for us." -- Mike Woodson

Knick of the Night:
Anthony scored 8 of his 25 at the charity stripe and logged 44 minutes of floor time to propel his squad to a much needed win. The All-Star attacked the glass throughout the contest, recording eight rebounds. He also dished out six assists in a nice all-around performance.

Statistically Speaking:
New York won the battle on the boards 50-40 and tallied 36 points in the paint as opposed to 28 for the Bucks. Tyson Chandler racked up 20 boards, the most he’s compiled since 2008.

Looking Ahead:
The Knicks return to MSG tomorrow night for the second of the back-to-back set. DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings enter the Garden after they beat New York in Sacramento earlier this season.

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