In a game that for sure left fans at the edge of their seats, biting off their nails, screaming at their TVs and gasping for air, the Knicks pulled out a huge win over the Bucks in Milwaukee, 111-107. Carmelo Anthony continued his hot streak, leading New York with 32 points and 10 rebounds. Monta Ellis had his best game as a Buck, scoring 35 points and filling the stat sheet with 10 assists, six rebounds and four steals.
The Knicks came into this game knowing that a loss would place them in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. Following the loss to the Bulls the night before, no one could’ve expected the start they had.
The Knicks shot 77% (that is not a typo) in the 1st quarter while putting on a passing clinic. They converted 17 field goals on 11 assists. Tyson Chandler scored nine of his 19 points in the 1st quarter, beginning what would be a perfect shooting night for the 2012 NBA Defensive Player of the Year (I’m calling it as it is). The Knicks opened up a 30-16 lead before Milwaukee starting chipping away at the lead and finished the quarter up 36-27.
The second quarter continued a recent trend for the Knicks, who have seen their third quarter issues show up 12 minutes earlier in their last two games. Milwaukee began the quarter going on a 19-8 run that saw them take a 49-44 lead. However, Anthony and Chandler wouldn’t let the game get away, combining for 10 of the Knicks next 18 points and both teams went into halftime tied at 62.
The third quarter was a high paced, back and forth affair. There were four lead changes and three ties. At one point, the Knicks held a four-point lead, only to see the Bucks come back and take a six-point lead. A running, wild shot by Iman Shumpert to end the quarter left the Knicks in an 88-84 deficit heading into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was absolute drama and insanity. The Bucks scored six of the quarter’s first eight points to build a 94-86 lead. The Knicks promptly scored seven straight to cut the deficit to one. After a Luc Richard Mbah a Moute layup gave the Bucks a three-point advantage, Milwaukee native Steve Novak tied it with a three pointer.
The teams traded huge baskets and with 1:07 remaining, the Bucks found themselves with a 108-107 lead. That’s when J.R. Smith, in the middle of another one of his Jekyll and Hyde games, hit his second huge three-pointer of the quarter to give the Knicks a 108-107 lead and the Knicks would hold on to win, 111-107.
The Knicks had huge contributions down the board. Chandler finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while making all six of his shots and seven free throws. Landry Fields did a little bit of everything (11 points, six assists, five rebounds, two steals). The man Mike Woodson calls “The Rookie”, Shumpert had another strong game (16 points, six rebounds, five assists), coming up with two huge steals in the fourth. Novak scored seven of his 10 points in the fourth quarter.
Then there was J.R. Smith, aka The Jekyll and the Hyde. In what is becoming a nightly, maddening situation, Smith put on his usual ISO show of terrible shots and bad fouls. At one point, he was a -19 in the game. However, as he has done since taking over as coach, Mike Woodson stuck with Smith and was rewarded with two shots from beyond the arc that tied and gave the Knicks the lead.
The win gives the Knicks a two game lead over the Bucks in the race for the eighth spot in the East but more importantly, it ties the season series with Milwaukee. If both teams end the season tied, conference record would be the next tiebreaker. The Knicks are back in action Friday night against the lowly Wizards at Madison Square Garden.