For two quarters the Bucks were winning, the Knicks were struggling, and Milwaukee looked like it might actually contain the red-hot Carmelo Anthony for a change.
For the next two quarters? Well, the Knicks looked like a team that came in winners of ten straight, Anthony looked like a man possessed (41 points, 17/28 fg, 14 rebs) and the Bucks looked like a team struggling to generate any momentum (especially defensively) heading into a probable first round matchup with the Heat.
Anthony's 18 points highlighted a 42-21 third quarter that featured eight New York threes, offsetting a dozen in the period from Brandon Jennings as the Knicks woke up from their first half slumber and never looked back in eventually cruising to a 101-83 win at MSG. J.R. Smith quietly added a not-so-quiet 30 points (11/22 fg, 5/11 fg) and 10 rebounds, as the Knicks scored 101 despite just two players cracking double-figures. J.J. Redick scored 18 on 9 shots (5/6 threes) along with four rebounds and four assists for the Bucks, while Jennings scored 25 on 20 shots. That was about it for Milwaukee, which got next to nothing from Monta Ellis (4/13 fg, 11 pts, 6 ast) and Ersan Ilyasova (2/9 fg, 7 pts, 7 rebs).
The first quarter wasn't particularly impressive for either team, as both teams were overly content to jack up contested jumpers and had little success gathering second chance opportunities. But the Bucks eventually took advantage of New York's continued sluggishness in the second quarter, riding four threes from Redick and a couple more from Jennings to take a 45-36 lead at the half. The Bucks shot just 41% but hit 7/14 from deep and held the Knicks to just 34%. Anthony led the Knicks with 12 and nine boards (four offensive), but shot a middling 5/11 with four turnovers as Daniels and Mbah a Moute held their ground in the post and the Bucks managed to disrupt Anthony's rhythm with double-teams and quick hands.
Too bad it didn't last. Anthony started the third quarter absolutely on fire from the perimeter, and not even another third quarter explosion from Jennings could prevent the Knicks from overwhelming the Bucks with threes. Anthony buried his first seven shots to help inspire a 25-2 Knicks run that also featured threes from Raymond Felton, J.R. Smith and Pablo Prigioni. Milwaukee looked to have whittled the New York lead back to single digits by the end of the quarter, but a poorly-run final possession ended with Kidd hurling a 60-foot prayer off the glass as the buzzer sounded. Considering everything else that went in for New York, this was not surprising.
The Bucks hung around to start the fourth and drew to 87-81 on a Redick three, but Anthony caught fire again to key an 11-0 run that put the game out of reach and assured a third straight 40+ night for the Knicks' superstar.