In a season full of bad losses, Monday night’s has to be one of the worst for the Knicks. Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Knight hit a 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds to break a tie and give the Bucks a 101-98 win over the Knicks. The Bucks improved to 9-39 but have the worst record in the NBA. Simply put, this was a game the Knicks needed to win. Milwaukee entered play Monday on a six-game losing streak. They had lost seven in a row to the Knicks (19-29). But that streak was snapped thanks to Knight, who led five double-digit Bucks scorers with 25 points.
Carmelo Anthony did everything he could to help the Knicks cut a six-point, fourth-quarter deficit. Anthony had 17 points in the final 12 minutes, but New York couldn’t get enough stops down the stretch, but finished with a game-high 36. Melo knocked down a 3 to tie the score with 19 seconds to go, but the Knicks couldn’t get a stop on the last possession as Knight hit a shot over the outstretched arms of Raymond Felton.
The Knicks didn’t get much from their point guards on Monday. Raymond Felton missed six of his first seven shots and finished with three points in 35 minutes. Pablo Prigioni, although not known as a scorer, had three points but just one assist in 22 minutes. This lack of consistent point guard play is one of the biggest reason the Knicks have struggled this season. Without a solid ball-handler to run coach Woodson’s offense (aka “give the ball to Melo”) the Knicks have struggled with flow as well as screen-and-roll production.
Despite suffering a devastating loss, it was arguably the best game of the season for slumping shooting-guard J.R. Smith, who finished with 30 points on 9-for-17 from the field (6-for-11 from beyond the arc). From suffering shooting from the field (shooting worse than 40 percent for the first time since ’06) to off-the-court arguments with Mike Woodson, Smith has certainly had his on-court and off-court issues this season. Despite that, this performance by Smith is certainly something to be optimistic about. With the Knicks fighting for a playoff spot (who would’ve thought?) Smith’s improved production would put the Knicks in a favorable position, not to mention improve his standing with the fans.
Following this loss, the Knicks will head home to face the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.