MILWAUKEE — Steve Novak claims he knows the rims at the BMO Harris Bradley Center pretty well.
Nobody is buying that, simply because he’s rarely hit them. As pure of a shooter as there is in the NBA and the best 3-point shooter in Marquette history, Novak is more familiar with the nets in the arena.
Wednesday seemed like a flashback to his college days, when any given night Novak was lighting up the Bradley Center, swish after swish.
The graduate of Brown Deer High School had quite the homecoming, playing a career-high 39 minutes, scoring 19 points on 7 of 10 shooting, including making 5 of 7 from beyond the arc in New York’s 102-88 victory over the Bucks.
“I was feeling good and coach just had confidence in me,” Novak said. “There’s no place like playing at home. Playing at Madison Square Garden is unbelievable but there’s nothing like being at home close to your place.”
Novak earned the nickname “Money” while at Marquette because he was just that, making 46.1 percent of his 3s. That same stroke earned him a shot in the NBA and now has earned him stability. The Knicks signed him to a four year, $15 million extension this past offseason.
“He’s a nice piece to what we try to do offensively,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “It’s been tough on him so far in the early season. He’s not been able to shake a lot of teams. He’ll have nights where he’s getting a lot of looks. There will be some nights where he’s not getting looks. He just has to be ready to knock them down when he gets them.”
Wednesday night against the Bucks, Novak — currently averaging 7.8 points per game in 22.8 minutes per contest — got open looks and knocked them down.
“He was on tonight,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. “A couple of his shots came off of our breakdowns. We turned our head a few times in the first half that allowed him to step into a shot. Other times he was able to come off of a screen and square up. But he’s a good shooter and you cannot leave him open at any time.”
With 18 family members in attendance to watch his return to his old college arena, Novak couldn’t have asked for a better night to bust out.