MILWAUKEE (AP) — The New York Knicks seemed to have put their early struggles behind them. Their last performance proved they still have some issues to work out.
Facing a Milwaukee Bucks team that has been woeful offensively might help New York bounce back.
The Knicks will try to avoid a fourth straight loss to the Bucks when the teams meet in Milwaukee on Tuesday night.
After back-to-back wins over Chicago and Washington in which they shot a combined 50.3 percent, the Knicks (3-3) made a season-worst 40.0 percent of their attempts in a 106-96 loss to Philadelphia on Sunday.
New York shot 5 of 24 in the fourth quarter and was held without a field goal following Amar’e Stoudemire’s tip-in with 4:27 left.
“We are a very young team and making young mistakes sometimes,” said Stoudemire, who finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds. “Again, we don’t want to have any excuses. We just have to make sure we stand down on shooters and are defending well.”
New York is starting two rookies in center Timofey Mozgov and second-round pick Landry Fields, and its second-leading scorer – Toney Douglas – is in his second year in the NBA. That inexperience, combined with new faces in Stoudemire and Raymond Felton, could explain the team’s inconsistent start.
New York, which went 3 of 19 from 3-point range Sunday after going 28 of 53 in the two previous games, wasn’t much better offensively in three losses to the Bucks last season. The Knicks averaged 87.0 points and were held to 67 in the last meeting.
The addition of Stoudemire might help, as he’s averaged 23.5 points in his last six meetings against the Bucks.
Milwaukee (2-5) is coming off a poor offensive performance of its own in an 87-81 loss to New Orleans on Saturday. The Bucks, who are averaging 89.6 points, shot 38.6 percent for a second straight game to see their season mark drop to 39.9. They were 4 of 16 from 3-point range and scored 35 points in the first half.
“It was just an ugly game for us,” point guard Brandon Jennings said. “It’s starting to get a little bit ridiculous now because every day it’s like it’s something – shots not falling and we just all break down. Some people are probably not on the same page, or I don’t know what it is, but it’s getting a little bit annoying now.”
Even the return of Andrew Bogut didn’t help. After missing the previous game with a migraine, Bogut had 19 points and 14 rebounds.
Bogut had one of the best games of his career the last time he faced the Knicks, scoring 24 points to go along with 20 rebounds and five blocked shots in an 83-67 win Feb. 22.
The Bucks have averaged 104.1 points in winning seven of their last eight against New York.
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