Pre-Game: Knicks At Bucks

Losers of three of their last four games (including the Battle for New York City to the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night), the Knicks (9-4, tied for 1st in Atlantic Division) end their quick two game road trip tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks (7-5, 1st in Central Division). The Knicks will again be without Jason Kidd, who missed Monday night’s game with back spasms. The team has him listed as day-to day. Ronnie Brewer, who dislocated his left ring finger in the loss to the Nets, will be available for the Knicks. There has been no word on who will replace Kidd in the starting lineup. Coach Mike Woodson could use his big lineup of Raymond Felton-Brewer-Carmelo Anthony-Kurt Thomas-Tyson Chandler or just replace Kidd at shooting guard with one of either J.R. Smith, Steve Novak or James White.

As for the Bucks, they’ve also lost three of their last four games but are coming off a one-point win against the Chicago Bulls on Monday. Milwaukee comes in ranked in the middle of the pack in most categories: 12th in scoring (99.3), 14th in rebounding (41.9) and 15th in points allowed (98.3). There rankings in efficiency are similar, coming in tied at 17th in offensive efficiency (100.3) and 13th in defensive efficiency. However, they do a great of sharing the wealth, ranking third in the league in assists (23.8) and are second in pace (97.3).

The Bucks are led by their dynamic guard duo of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. Ellis leads the team in scoring at 19.1 points per, while Jennings leads the team in assists (7.2) and steals (3.2). Those numbers for Jennings represent a career high, with the assists number placing him 10th in the league and his steals numbers leading the NBA. Jennings has been a menace to the Knicks in the past, averaging 20.3 points and six assists against New York in his career. It’s not secret Jennings loves playing against the Knicks, after he felt the team overlooked him by not drafting him in the 2009 NBA Draft. In a January game between the two teams last season, Jennings poured in 36 points to lead the Bucks to a win. In that same game, Anthony and Jennings went back and forth jawing at each other. He is listed as day-to-day with an ankle injury but has yet to miss a game this season.

Another Bucks player to keep an eye on is Mike Dunleavy. In four games against the Knicks last season, Dunleavy averaged 17.8 points on 50% shooting, 42% from beyond the arc. In two March games vs the Knick last season, Dunleavy went off for 51 points on 20-for-30 shooting, 8-of-14 from beyond the arc. This season, Dunleavy is averaging 11.8 points.

Game tips off at 8 p.m. at Milwaukee’s Bradley Center.