Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points, Steve Novak added 19 and the Knicks made 11/21 from deep as the Bucks wasted a surprisingly efficient shooting night from their backcourt in a mistake-filled loss at the Bradley Center.
Historical comebacks are fun and all, but it turns out they don't provide a sustainable blueprint for winning basketball games. Two days after their 27-point comeback in Chicago, the Bucks put in a reasonable effort for about 20 minutes before the Knicks' spread offense simply blew the game open. And open it stayed as New York cruised to an easy 102-88 win over a rather unimpressive Bucks team in Milwaukee.
Carmelo Anthony's iso and high P&R looks were the predictable backbone of the Knicks' offense, but open looks became increasingly plentiful as the night wore on and the Bucks simply couldn't keep their offense going long enough to compete.
Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis started quickly with 11 first quarter points apiece, but Milwaukee's bigs were zeroes on the offensive end and the Bucks' guards did little to stop the Knicks' guards from getting into the lane at will. New York had no trouble penetrating and creating open looks for its brigade of dangerous outside shooters all night, with Anthony (28 points on 18 shots, 3/4 threes) and former Marquette standout Steve Novak (19 points on just 10 shots, 5/7 threes) leading the way. Still, the Bucks managed to run, cut and push the tempo enough to keep the game close, trailing just 45-44 with three minutes remaining in the second.
And that's when the Bucks' offense began to bog down, while the Knicks hit their stride. Novak and Anthony spurred a 23-4 surge that saw the game get out of hand in a hurry, and the fourth quarter lineup that did so much damage on Monday couldn't work any miracles this time around. The Bucks responded with a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 13, but that was as close as it would get. Beno Udrih was a garbage time superstar with 18 points on 12 shots, but the Bucks seemed to conjure up an awful pass or moment of defensive absent-mindedness whenever there was a glimmer of hope. Ersan Ilyasova was sick before the game and scoreless in it (13 min, 0/1 fg), part of an overall trend for the Bucks' big men on the night--John Henson and Larry Sanders combined to shoot 1/8 on the night and played just 25 minutes combined.