Knicks win pivotal game over Bucks

Carmelo Anthony stepped up to score 28 points in Stoudemire's absence.

The Knicks could’ve used the absences of Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin as reasons to fold in Monday night’s pivotal game, but they instead showed their grit in an 89-80 win over the hard-charging Bucks.   

Heading into the game, the No. 8 seeded Knicks (25-25) were only 1 1/2 games ahead of the No. 9 Bucks (22-27).

The Knicks started hot, hit a second-quarter slump and then showed some mettle in overcoming the Bucks in the second half.    

Head coach Mike Woodson was definitely proud of the result, as the Knicks played his brand of “Woody Ball” in which they hunkered down and played a defensive-laden game – specifically in the second half.     

“The second half was tremendous defensively,” Woodson said of a Knicks squad that yielded just 28 points in the second half. “It was an ugly game, but we kept grinding and getting defensive stops. We had one stretch where it was back and forth where neither team could hit a shot. … But we got over the hump.”      

Carmelo Anthony led the way with 28 points and a team-high 12 rebounds, while Baron Davis added 13 points and seven assists. Stoudemire, who could be out for an extended period of time with a bulging disc, didn’t even dress. Neither did do-everything forward Jared Jeffries (knee). Lin, who’s battling a sore knee, dressed but never saw any action. As the Knicks lacked any other inside presence, it was solely upon the shoulders of center Tyson Chandler. He was up to the task as he came through with 13 points and nine rebounds, including five offensive.   

Milwaukee was led by Mike Dunleavy Jr. and his team-high 26 off the bench, but he only tallied two points in the second half.   

Woodson credited a raised defensive intensity and coaching tweaks that slowed down Dunleavy.   

“I was livid. He had it going big time,” Woodson said. “But a lot of that was because we didn’t communicate on the switches in time and we got matched up wrong in transition, and that shouldn’t be. But we corrected that [after halftime] and were able to secure the win.”    

Dunleavy was slowed down considerably in the second half, but the swingman’s performance was still very impressive, considering the Bucks’ speedy and newly-minted backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis added little offensive support. Jennings finished with 15 points, while Ellis only had four. They combined to shoot a paltry 8-of-36 from the field.          

The Bucks looked as if they were going to run away with the game, as they used a 12-0 run midway through the second quarter to go up by as many as nine points, but that was as good as it got. New York slowly chipped away and regained the lead for good midway through the third quarter and never looked back. It helped that the Knicks used an 18-0 free-throw attempts advantage at the foul line in the third quarter and also had nine of their 13 total offensive rebounds, showing that they were the aggressor.     

Chandler, who has been the anchor of the defense since arriving, said he took it upon himself to lead by example. He noted that with his sidekick out indefinitely, there will be a slew of guys playing out of position at the power forward position – including Anthony, who started at power forward. Chandler said the onus on getting all to jell will be on him.      

“It’s very important that it starts with myself and to be able to communicate with guys that may be playing out of position,” Chandler said. “I have to make those guys feel comfortable on defense.”     

The Knicks made life for the Bucks uncomfortable in this all-important game, as they managed to pick up a game in the standings and hold onto the eighth and final playoff spot by a thread.

Knicks notes

» Anthony had his best scoring game in over two months, as he found ways to slice through the rugged Bucks defense. Anthony started aggressive and stayed that way throughout as he went to the line 12 times, knocking them all down. A microcosm of the game is that Anthony’s 12 makes equaled the Bucks’ attempts as a team.  

» Woodson said all wasn’t perfect, specifically on the offensive end. He noted the exorbitant amount of turnovers and said that will have to stop: “I didn’t think [shot selection] was too bad because we missed some good looks. But my biggest concern is turning the ball over. That’s 23 opportunities that we didn’t have to score the ball. We need to cut that down to at least 12 or so.”  

» Iman Shumpert showed wisdom beyond his rookie status when evaluating the Knicks’ penchant for turnovers: “I think we try to make the homerun plays too much sometimes, but that’s because we know each other’s strengths and we try to exploit that all the time. But sometimes we do that a little too much. As long as we’re playing good defense I think we can allow ourselves to take chances, but we still have to tighten some things up.”   

» Chandler had a game-high five offensive rebounds and controlled the interior practically by himself. The veteran just shrugged at that notion, but joked he had a lot of opportunities to clean up the mess, as the Knicks shot just 35 percent from the field: “We were missing a lot of shots so there were definitely some opportunities. I just wanted to be aggressive and give my team a second opportunity when I could.”


Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter
@TBone8.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.