[Video] Knicks Soar Past Bucks 115-94

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The Knicks will officially welcome Phil Jackson to the team tomorrow night on the heels of a win streak that’s extended to six games via a weekend matinee blowout over the Bucks.

As most Knicks fans will remember, we owed this lowly team for beating us in overtime  last month AND having the gall to tweet out “#Buckstape” on Twitter.

The Buck never a got a true foothold since the perimeter defense was strong and kept guys like Brandon Knight (14 points) and Nate Wolters (15 points) from having career nights. On the other end, Melo lead the way with 23 points (50% shooting), 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. Best of all, Melo only needed 33 minutes of work. Tyson Chandler (2 points, 5 rebounds) and Amar’e Stoudemire (15 points, 6/13, rebounds) had struggles in their return games, but the slack was picked up by Tim Hardaway’s 20 points off the bench, and Jeremy Tyler adding 6 rebounds in 18 minutes.

The Knicks will get their win streak tested on Wednesday when the face the Pacers, a team NY has yet to defeat this season.

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Tyson Chandler Returns to Starting Lineup Against Bucks

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Knicks center Tyson Chandler has confirmed that he will return to the starting lineup tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Chandler has been sidelined since November 6 after fracturing his right fibula in a collision with Bobcats guard Kemba Walker. In his absence, the Knicks have struggled mightily on the defensive end, posting an overall record of 7-17.

In the four games Chandler has played this year, he’s averaged 7 points, 9 rebounds, 1 steal and 2.5 blocks.

Coach Woodson has also confirmed that the addition of Chandler will move Andrea Bargnani to the bench, and Carmelo Anthony to the power forward position.

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Finally, some good news! I’m not expecting Chandler to be an immediate savior since the team’s problems are varied. In addition, it’ll take some games before his timing and legs are fully back. But from a morale standpoint, just his presence will be a huge energy burst for this team. The road to .500 begins tonight…

Knicks Blow 25-pt Lead, Hold Off Bucks 90-83

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The Knicks got a lesson on the importance of closing out teams last night as they ended up in a seesaw battle in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter in fighting off the Bucks to a 90-83 victory.

After a first half which saw the Knicks dominate defensively (forcing 16 turnovers) for a 56-31 lead (punctuated by a 32-13 second quarter), New York would only score 34 points in the second half while giving up an astounding 33 points in the third quarter! It would have been great for the starters to rest considering the Bulls await them tonight, but this dogfight may just be what the team needed.

STRONG BACKCOURT: Coach Woodson went with the 2 point guard backcourt of Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni. The Knicks caught a big break when Bucks guard Brandon Knight left the game two minutes in with a strained hamstring. Luke Ridnour also didn’t play, ensuring the Bucks offense would be stalled in parts without their point guards. Felton executed several excellent fast breaks off steals and had his jumper working to the tune of 18 points. There was a brief scare with him having to leave the game due to a strained hamstring, but he worked through it.

Prigioni was his usual pest on defense, notching 3 steals and keeping the ball moving with 5 assists. Iman Shumpert started slow (0-3), but began showing the range and even finishing at the rim (a problem for him last year). Shump ended up with 16 points.

FLAT THIRD QUARTER: The Knicks came out very weak. This was an issue last season where the guys just seemed to get unfocused on their rotations. Before you knew the it, the lead went from 18 to 11 to single digits. The stupid fouls contributed to the Bucks getting easy baskets as well. Melo looked to get teammates involved, but several wide-open jumpers were missed and the Bucks continued to surge.

4TH QUARTER SCARE AWAKENS MELO AND CHANDLER: Caron Butler had a solid game for the Bucks (14 points) and managed to tie it with 4:30 remaining off a three-pointer. Milwaukee even took the lead off a John Henson free throw (81-80). From there, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler were the catalyst for a game-sealing 10-2 run. Prigioni got a steal for a fast break, leading to Melo missing a layup and Chandler putting home a putback dunk. Melo then scored on his next two plays, a tip-in and a post-move, to make it 86-81. Another Chandler dunk made it 88-81 and effectively iced the game. Melo finished with a solid double-double of 19 points (7-16) and 10 rebounds. Chandler added 6 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocked shots.

BARGNANI BOOED: Based on this game, the New York faithful won’t have much patience with Andre Bargnani this season. He struggled with his shot and defense for most of the game and finished with 6 points (3-9 shooting) and 2 rebounds off the bench. He was unsure of himself and that’s one thing NY doesn’t tolerate. To be fair, he’s still learning the offense and I’m willing to wait 25 games before pulling out the pitchforks.

BETTER EFFORT NEEDED AGAINST CHICAGO: The Bulls smacked around the Knicks every game last year. NY will have to be much better tonight if they hope to get a win, as Chicago is having their season-opener with Derrick Rose returning. We’ll see how the lineup tweaks work with Amar’e Stoudemire getting burn tonight. Game starts at 8 p.m. ET on TNT.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS

Brandon Jennings, Kindly STFU – Knicks Ride 3rd Quarter Blitz & Melo’s 41, Down Bucks 101-83

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40 years ago, the New York Knicks were the NBA champions. The names of those players still ring out heavy among Knick fans: Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Dick Barnett, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Phil Jackson, Willis Reed, Hawthrone Wingo, Bill Bradley and the late Dave DeBusschere. Tonight, most of that team made it out to the Garden to be honored by a very appreciative Madison Square Garden crowd. The only thing needed to cap a beautiful evening was the Knicks extending their winning streak to 11. There were some bumps in the road, or better yet, bumps over the entire first half, but the current Knicks delivered on their end and then some…

UGLY FIRST HALF: The Knicks played their worst basketball of this winning streak in the first 24 minutes against the Bucks. The Knicks could literally not hit anything, including wide open shots. Most of their three point attempts were uncontested and they still went an atrocious 1-12. Meanwhile, the Bucks went 7-14, anchored by a hot second quarter from J.J. Redick, who sunk four in the quarter to help propel him to 13 points.

With the shots not going down, the offense degraded to predictable post isolations for Melo. Unfortunately, Melo had problems holding onto the ball (5 turnovers) and finishing over Bucks’s big frontcourt, lead by the league’s top shot-blocker in Larry Sanders.

Having shot 34% from the field and down 36-45 at halftime, the only bright spot for the Knicks was that there was no way they could play that horribly over the next 24 minutes.

BRANDON JENNINGS GETS HIS DUE KARMA: The Knicks came out strong in the third and quickly got the deficit to two before making some blunders on Brandon Jennings, who made a four-point swing by turning a missed free throw into a foul and three-point play. Jennings would hit a three later to push the Bucks lead to nine. As usual for him, Jennings was feeling himself way before the game was decided, and shot a smug glare at the Garden faithful.

Wrong move, especially on this night.

The Knicks promptly broke the game open on an absurd 25-2 run, which saw them at one point score 16 straight points. Remember those three-pointers that wouldn’t go down in the first half? JR Smith hit three of them in quarter. Felton added one for three of his nine points in the quarter. Melo had two three-points plays, treys and assorted jumpers for a blistering 18 points in 12 minutes.

What was the icing on the cake to this 42-21 third quarter? On a late Jennings drive, he was smacked right in the face by Tyson Chandler and laid out to no call. While he languished on the floor holding his face, his defensive assignment in Raymond Felton drained a three-pointer. When Jennings tried to hold for the final shot, Felton was all over him and made sure he was denied the ball (causing Brandon to have a short tantrum much to the delight of the crowd).

And for the final cap to the Knicks’s highest scoring quarter of the season, Jason Kidd heaved a three from the opposite three-point line behind halfcourt. The result was a banked-in shot and a 78-66 lead going into the fourth.

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MELO EQUALS HIS IDOL: Although the Bucks hung around for most of the fourth and got as close at six, you never got the feeling the Knicks were in trouble with Melo on the floor. The Bucks got three-point happy, and Melo coolly closed the game out on them with back to back long jumpers to put the Knicks up 91-81. From there, Melo was sitting on 38 points and the crowd gave him a standing ovation and “MVP!” chants, hoping he could hit 40 again.

He did it easily on a pull-up three-pointer to push the lead at 96-81.

With his 41 points tonight, Melo equals his idol Bernard King as the only Knick to score 40 points in three straight games. Not only is this Melo eighth 40-plus game this season (the most in the NBA), he’s the first player in 28 years to have 3 straight 40 point games while shooting over 60% from the field.

And finally, let’s not forget another great stat for Melo — 14 rebounds.

CHANDLER SLOWLY COMING BACK: Tyson is far from his usual self yet, but he did well on the rebounding front (10) and like the rest of the team woke up on offense in the second half. With Kenyon Martin resting, it was important Chandler do well on the boards and he stepped up to the challenge.

JR SWISH: This man was key in that 3rd quarter barrage as he couldn’t miss from three. He turned into the old chucking JR for a bit in the fourth, but I couldn’t blame him with how he had been shooting. And more importantly, he kept his head on defense. Off the bench JR gave us 30 points (11/22 shooting) and 10 rebounds.

THE LEGENDS GET A PROPER HOMECOMING:  With the 1973 championship team in the house, the Garden wanted a fun win and that’s exactly what they got. I’m sure they imparted some team wisdom to the current Knicks that they’ll hopefully take with them into the playoffs.

Now at 11 straight wins, the streak faces its biggest danger on Sunday when the Knicks meet the Thunder.

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[Video] The Buck Stops Here: New York Knicks Defense Stifles Milwaukee 96-86

 

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“If we played like this for entire games, we’d be #1 in the league.” – JR SMITH

 

J.R. Smith is a wise man. While New York had a underwhelming first half in terms of offensive and defensive cohesion, there were a few things the team did good that served them well in a second half that culminated in a fantastic fourth quarter that saw the Bucks held to just 13 points. This was a game the Knicks couldn’t afford to drop and NY has now put themselves in position tonight to overtake Miami as the #1 team in the East.

 

BUCKS HOT 3 POINT SHOOTING: The Knicks did an excellent job in keeping the explosive backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis under wraps in the first half. Problem was they couldn’t completely control the three-point shooting (6-13) helmed by Mike Dunleavy and Ersan Ilyasova. At one point their team was shooting over 60% from downtown, but the Knicks would go on a 10-0 late in the second to get it close and only be down 53-47 at halftime.

 

THE STAT N’ TYSON SHOW: Melo had 25 points but it was a very rough night shooting (7-22) and when it came to decision-making (season high 7 turnovers).  However, our Big Three frontcourt showed its versatility with Tyson Chandler being an absolute terror on the boards (20 rebounds) and Stoudemire continuing to put that Hakeem Olajuwon camp money to good use by living in the post and contributing 17 points, 7 rebounds and 1 block in 24 minutes.

 

3RD QUARTER WAKE-UP: After the Bucks reeled off six-straight points in the third to go up by 12, the Knicks finally woke up for good. JR Smith would drill back to back three-pointers as part of a 10-0 New York run to pull within two. The Bucks would go on a 7-0 run to get some breathing room at 66-59, but the Knicks would outscore them 27-20 in the quarter to take a slim 74-73 lead into the fourth.

 

4TH QUARTER FINISH: The Bucks couldn’t buy a bucket in the final 12 minutes as their shooting dipped to 39%. Prigioni drew a crafty offensive foul on Dunleavy early on and Stoudemire continued to feast in the post. Iman Shumpert, who got burned backdoor on a few plays, got aggressive in causing two deflections and finishing two tough layups inside. The Bucks kept fighting, but two threes courtesy of Raymond Felton and Shumpert closed the book on this giving the Knicks a 92-81 lead with just a few minutes left.

After that heart-breaking game-winner the Kings pulled on the Knicks in December, New York should have revenge on their minds later tonight.

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4QbrJff9AE&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

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Frontcourt Shutdown: Knicks Ice Bucks 102-88

After the bitter defeat last game to the Brooklyn Nets, I was not in the mood to see another tough game with Milwaukee’s explosive backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis going off. Apparently the Knicks weren’t either, as they administered clamp down defense and merciless frontcourt offense to whoop the Bucks 102-88.

Recently, the Bucks have given the Knicks loads of trouble in the form of Brandon Jennings, who seems to relish getting at the Knicks and last season drew a “suck my dick” retort from Melo at the free throw line. Jennings and Ellis started hot, hitting their outside jumpers and blowing past Knick guards to the basket for fouls and layups. Melo had one of his trademark fast starts to keep us in it early, hitting two 3s and drawing fouls inside for 11 points. Jennings and Ellis also contributed 11 points a piece to help give the Bucks a 26-23 lead after one.

Coach Woodson mixed up the lineups to start the second, giving Chris Copeland some burn with the bench unit. The secondary team was anchored by Pablo Prigioni, who contributed two 3-pointers off screens and got a nice steal that lead to a layup. Steve Novak continued his improved shooting as well, draining two 3s to keep the game tight until Melo made it back on the floor. Anthony promptly delivered back to back baskets on a three-pointer and driving layup. The two point guard backcourt of Raymond Felton and Prigioni was able to hold up with help defense (including a nice Novak block on an Ellis cut) as the Buck got sloppy (1o turnovers). The Knicks ran over the Milwaukee in the closing 2-3 minutes to jump out to a 58-48 lead at halfime.

The Knicks remained focused for the start of the third and promptly put the game away. Tyson Chandler, who had eight points at the half, remained aggressive and continue drawing fouls on cuts to the basket in addition to scoring with easy dunks and layups off pick and rolls. In just a few minutes, a Felton steal and layup followed by a Melo jumper had pushed the lead to 68-48. A quick run fueled by a Jennings three and an Ellis drive trimmed the lead to 68-55, but a Melo drive for an “and 1”  layup put a halt to it. The Knicks defense tightened up and the Bucks relied on jump-shooting (which was ice-cold) and fell behind at the end of the third 88-70, being outscored 30-22.

The Bucks bench couldn’t do much better in the fourth; Milwaukee would get no closer than 14 points. The highlight of the quarter was a steal by Steve Novak that lead to a one-man fast break layup, which prompted teases from the bench to Steve for not dunking it. Novak finished with a nice game of 19 points ( 5-7 from downtown). Other big contributors were Prigioni (11 points, 7 assists), Chandler (17 points, 8 rebounds) Felton (12 points, 7 assists) and of course Melo, who dropped 29 points and nabbed 8 rebounds.

And the best stat of all for last night? The Knicks outrebounded the Bucks 38-36 and held their starting frontcourt to 2 points!

New York moves on Friday to face the Wizards.