Post Game Recap
The Knicks started to throw away all the positive vibes they had built in the middle of their home stand with a loss to the Miami Heat Saturday; tonight they finished destroying those vibes with a terrible loss to the lowly Bucks. It was a terrible loss for the Knicks tonight as the Bucks are one of the only teams in the NBA worse off than the Knicks currently. The Bucks were without arguably their best player tonight in O.J. Mayo and were still able to beat the Knicks tonight. A big reason the Bucks were able to hang with the Knicks tonight is because they kept fighting and the Knicks never put them away; as the Knicks tend to do they played down to their opponent and suffered for it. The loss tonight makes it two in a row for the Knicks and ends their seven-game winning streak against the Bucks. Things won’t get any easier for the Knicks as their next game is Wednesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Player of the Game: J.R. Smith
Smith was moved back to his regular spot off as the sixth man and he continued his strong play. Smith scored a season-high 30 points (9-17 FG, 6-11 3pt, 6-6 FT) as he looks as comfortable as he has at any point during the season. Smith was single handedly keeping the Knicks in the game at points tonight as the offense never really got going. Smith also added seven rebounds and three assists on the night to round out his stat line. Smith finally looks like he is ready to be the second scoring option the Knicks have been craving all season, just someone else now needs to step up behind him and Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony did everything he could to get the Knicks a win tonight alongside Smith. Anthony was on fire in the fourth quarter as he put the team on his back offensively and he led the comeback. Anthony finished the night with 36 points (13-25 FG, 5-10 3 pt, 5-6 FT) as he got hot down the stretch. He also added five rebounds and three assists to go with his big scoring night. Anthony can continue putting up bit scoring numbers but he is going to need some help to get the Knicks out of the hole they put themselves in.
|Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports|
The Knicks let it fly throughout the night and with good reason as they connected on a high amount of their three point attempts. On the night the Knicks shot a solid 44.1 percent from deep, going 15-34. The Knicks actually shot better from the three point line than they did overall from the field, as they made only 34-78 of their total shots for 43.6 percent.
Amar’e Stoudemire returned to the court tonight for more than a cameo and came out without an injury. Stoudemire also threw down a thunderous dunk over Bucks Center Larry Sanders that showed he is over the ankle injury. On the night he shot 3-7 from the field for seven points with four rebounds and one assist.
Outside of Anthony and Smith the Knicks offense was atrocious. No other player scored more than seven points and if you take out their shooting their teammates combined to go 12-36 from the field. At the end of the day they are still playing against other professionals so if a total team effort is not given they will lose like they did tonight. When one player in the starting lineup doubles the scoring output of the other four combined it is rarely, if ever, a good thing
|Tom Lynn/AP Photo|
The Bucks, who average only seven three point makes a game, lit the Knicks up from the perimeter. Until the Knicks pick it up it will be pointed out how poor their perimeter defense is. The Bucks lit it up from downtown tonight, making 11-18 for 61.1 percent. The three point barrage was led by Brandon Knight and Khris Middleton, who combined to go 9-14. Knight lit the Knicks up for the second consecutive game, as he has scored 61 points combined his last two appearances against the Knicks. Knight’s main victim on the night was Raymond Felton, who was once again a revolving door defensively. Felton got beat backdoor by Knight on the second to last Bucks possession and then had the game winning three-pointer knocked down in his face as he gave Knight the utmost confidence throughout the game not putting much pressure on him.
As the theme throughout the season the Knicks did not bring the intensity needed tonight. They started the game off without scoring the first three minutes and missing their first three free throws. Their heads were not in the game throughout the night, evident from the poor shooting at the foul line, where the Knicks went 15-24 (62.5 percent). The effort defensively was lackadaisical as the Knicks let a struggling team gain confidence right from the start and ride it through all four quarters.