Knicks Officially In Panic Mode Following Brutal Loss To Lowly Bucks
NEW YORK (AP) — Brandon Jennings and the Milwaukee Bucks finally won on the road, and naturally it was at Madison Square Garden.
They play better in New York than the Knicks do.
Jennings scored a season-high 36 points, and the Bucks beat New York 100-86 on Friday night for their first win in nine road games this season.
“Brandon was good. He made some big shots for us,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. “When we got some separation in the second half, he was carrying us a bit offensively.”
The Bucks snapped a three-game overall skid and won for the sixth time in their last seven trips to New York, where the Knicks heard frequent boos after turning the ball over or missing shots right at the rim all night in their fifth straight loss.
Milwaukee dominated the second half behind Jennings, who loves to make the Knicks pay for passing on him with the No. 8 pick in the 2009 draft.
“I love the city just in general. You know it’s the Mecca of basketball,” Jennings said. “I’m always here in the summer playing basketball in the streets in New York, so you know it’s not just The Garden. It’s the vibe of New York.”
Carmelo Anthony scored 35 points for the Knicks before he was ejected with 1:33 left after picking up his second technical foul of the game after an confrontation with Jennings. Jennings thought it was because of a hand gesture he made after a 3-pointer, adding that “everybody wants to be tough guys between the lines and stuff,” but that wasn’t the only time Anthony seemed frustrated.
“I don’t like to be punked out there so I think that’s where the frustration just set in and it started trickling down,” Anthony said. “Maybe it was my fault that the frustration set in and I apologized to my teammates for that, but I don’t like being in them situations like that. I don’t know how to handle those punking situations too well.”
The Knicks are averaging just 88.4 points during their skid.
“We’re just not sharp and it looks like our legs are deader than the other guys,”‘ Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said. “It looks like they’re running circles around us a lot of times.”
Shaun Livingston added a season-high 18 points for the Bucks in his first start of the season in place of shooting guard Stephen Jackson, who was benched after missing the morning shootaround.
Jennings scored 17 points in the first half, then really toyed with the Knicks in the third quarter. A livid D’Antoni came well onto the floor after calling timeout to scream at point guard Toney Douglas for something after Milwaukee scored to open a 10-point lead, and then Jennings blew it open.
He had two jumpers and two dunks during an 11-2 run, stealing the ball cleanly from behind from an unsuspecting Douglas on one of the dunks, as Milwaukee extended its lead to 78-62 with 2:13 left in the third.
“I thought we played very well,” Skiles said. “I thought it may have been our best defensive game. We had very few defensive breakdowns.”
The Knicks’ only home victory against Milwaukee in the last 3 1/2 seasons was on Feb. 23 in Anthony’s first game after being traded from Denver, when it would have seemed impossible to think the Knicks would be so inept offensively. And with the Nuggets coming in Saturday at 11-5, it seems possible the blockbuster trade was a mistake on the Knicks’ part.
The deal, along with waiving Chauncey Billups in December to make salary room to acquire Tyson Chandler, left New York with little offensive firepower beyond Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. Both continue to struggle shooting, with Stoudemire hearing loud boos after missing one easy putback in the second half, and there is just nobody else to pick up the slack.
“The mood is obviously not good after a loss, especially to a team you know you should beat. And it’s been that way, it’s been that way for the last five games,” Chandler said. “We have to turn it around, but things are not going to turn around on their own. I’ve been saying that. We have to make things turn around.”
The Knicks have been held below 100 points in seven straight games, tying their worst stretch since D’Antoni became their coach. They shot just 37 percent from the field.
The Bucks got back Mike Dunleavy and Luc Mbah a Moute from injuries, but really all they needed in this one was Jennings, who made six 3-pointers.
Milwaukee opened a quick nine-point lead in the first quarter before settling for a 27-23 edge. Jennings, who went two spots after New York took the long-departed Jordan Hill in 2009, then scored 12 in the second quarter, getting a rebound of his own miss and putting it back for a 55-51 advantage at halftime.
NOTES: Washington (0-6) is the NBA’s lone winless road team. … The Knicks also went seven straight games without 100 points from Dec. 15-27, 2009, according to STATS, LLC. … Though Jackson referred to his benching as a suspension, it technically wasn’t because he’s not losing a game’s pay. He will likely be fined, the penalty that he assumed came with missing shootaround. Asked about his disappointment in having to sit out in New York, he said: “Of course I want to play, regardless whether it’s New York, Africa, Tibet. I don’t (care) where it is. I want to play.”
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)