Bucks 83, Knicks 67
NEW YORK (AP)
So this is what Andrew Bogut can do in a full game in New York.
It's a whole lot better than what the inept Knicks did.
Bogut had 24 points and 20 rebounds in his third career 20-20 game, and the Milwaukee Bucks forced the Knicks into their worst offensive performance in more than two years in an 83-67 victory Monday night.
Limited to just 5 1/2 minutes at Madison Square Garden three weeks ago because of a migraine, Bogut played 36 this time and overwhelmed the Knicks' smaller front line. He shot 12 of 15 from the field in his first 20-20 game since Dec. 13, 2008, against Indiana, according to STATS, LLC.
``Obviously they want to get the ball up and down and push it, they're very small,'' Bogut said. ``So, obviously that's an advantage for me on the offensive end.''
Bogut had only two fewer points in the game than the Knicks managed in a woeful second half. New York hadn't scored fewer points since a 104-59 nationally televised embarrassment in Boston on Nov. 29, 2007.
And the Knicks looked so promising Saturday night in their first game since acquiring Tracy McGrady as the centerpiece of their two trade deadline moves.
``I don't want to make too many excuses, but obviously we weren't familiar with what we're doing and with each other,'' Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. ``The first night, we ran on a lot of adrenaline and kind of got us through. I just thought we just didn't really have a lot of pop down there. The ball didn't really move and stopped. Guys were hesitating. They seemed lost.''
Making matters worse, McGrady said he banged knees a couple of times and wasn't sure he would play Tuesday in Boston. This was only his eighth game this season after returning from knee surgery.
``Hopefully it's not sore tomorrow,'' he said. ``I may lace them up and play tomorrow, but we'll see.''
John Salmons scored 15 points for the Bucks, who outrebounded the Knicks 61-35, won their third straight game and completed a three-game sweep of the series.
McGrady scored 15 points, but shot only 5 of 14. He wasn't alone in struggling, as the team hit just 33.8 percent from the field in its season-high seventh straight loss.
Newcomer Sergio Rodriguez replaced Chris Duhon in the lineup, but Duhon couldn't have done any worse than the Spanish point guard, who had four points and one assist and shot 2 for 8 in 30 minutes. He did have a career-high eight steals but the Knicks didn't do much with them, finishing with just 10 assists.
``I think if we would have shot the ball like we shot the ball the other night, we give ourselves a chance,'' McGrady said. ``Tonight we just couldn't make no shots. That's a very, very good defensive team and it showed, we only scored 67 points. We're still growing as a team. We're learning on the fly.''
Bogut seemed on his way to a dominant effort in the Bucks' 114-107 win here on Feb. 5, making all three shots for six points before he was forced to leave. He was the one causing the pain this time, helping the Bucks improve to 27-28 with their fourth straight road victory.
Despite its ugly shooting, New York was within six with under 9 minutes left. Jerry Stackhouse then made a 3-pointer before consecutive baskets by Luke Ridnour and Salmons made it 74-61 with 7:49 left. D'Antoni promised his team would speed up the tempo after last week's trades, yet finished nowhere near its previous worst scoring night of 78 points against Dallas on Jan. 24.
The Bucks, who came in a game out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, swept the series for the first time since going 4-0 in 1990-91.
Milwaukee never trailed in the first half, but the Knicks put together their only prolonged stretch of good offense with a 12-0 burst that turned a 10-point deficit into a 53-51 lead on Wilson Chandler's layup with 5:20 remaining in the third quarter.
The Bucks answered immediately with 13 straight points, including consecutive layups by Bogut, to open a 64-53 advantage on two free throws by Brandon Jennings with 41 seconds to go. They led by nine entering the fourth.
``We played our two point guards together multiple times this year and it just gives us an extra ballhandler on the floor,'' Bucks coach Scott Skiles said of Jennings and Ridnour. ``We were able to push it up to 13 and get a little bit of breathing room there and not run away with the game or anything but take control of it.''
NOTES: The Knicks celebrated the 40th anniversary of their 1970 NBA championship team at halftime. Willis Reed came out last, just as he did in returning from injury to help New York beat the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 7. ``The memories abound and astound,'' Hall of Fame guard Walt Frazier told the crowd. ... Milwaukee has won seven of the last eight meetings. ... Of the Bucks' eight 20-20 games since 1986-87, Bogut has three of them.