The Milwaukee Bucks have enjoyed plenty of success against the
Atlantic Division this season, but like many teams, they had none
when they faced New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony in
The Bucks seek to even the season series with the Knicks, and
they have played well at Madison Square Garden in recent seasons
heading into Friday night’s matchup.
Milwaukee (24-20) is 8-2 against Atlantic foes, though it fell
102-88 at home in its lone meeting with New York (28-15) on Nov.
28. Anthony scored 29 points while sitting out the fourth quarter
with the game in hand.
Few other teams have been able to slow down Anthony, as he’s set
a franchise record with 30 straight games of at least 20 points.
He’s averaging 29.7 in a three-game win streak over the Bucks,
though Milwaukee has won six of eight at MSG.
“He’s an MVP candidate, I don’t care how you slice it,” Knicks
coach Mike Woodson said. “He’s put himself in that category based
on how he’s played and how he’s gotten guys around him to play at a
high level. I mean, that’s what the great ones do.”
Woodson’s primary concern Friday figures to be containing
Milwaukee’s high-scoring backcourt of Monta Ellis and Brandon
Jennings. Orlando guards Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick combined for
50 points in the Knicks’ 113-97 home victory Wednesday, and the
coach says his team’s pick-and-roll defense remains a problem.
“(It) just wasn’t good enough,” Woodson said. “We just gotta get
better in that area. Everybody’s running pick-and-rolls.”
New York’s three-game run against Milwaukee has happened without
Amare Stoudemire, who made all seven shots for 14 points Wednesday.
The Knicks have lost four straight to the Bucks with Stoudemire
Still, New York feels better about itself now that Anthony,
Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler are playing well together.
“When the three of us are on the court, we are making things
happen offensively and defensively,” Anthony said.
The Bucks have gone 8-3 in the first half of back-to-back games
and should have more energy than they did in Wednesday’s 104-88
home defeat to Chicago, in which they trailed by 18 at halftime.
Milwaukee won the night before in Detroit, then returned home
around 11 a.m. on Wednesday due to an engine issue with the team
“Coming off the back-to-back, it’s going to be kind of tough for
us to make that run to get back in the game, especially the way
they were playing,” Ellis said. “It’s just one of those days.”
The Bucks host the Magic on Saturday night.
Ersan Ilyasova scored 18 points but shot 6 of 18 for Milwaukee.
Ilyasova is averaging 21.5 points in his last six games, but he has
been a non-factor with a total of five in his last three versus New
Jennings, bypassed by the Knicks in the 2009 draft, is averaging
20.1 points against New York for his highest mark against an
Eastern Conference opponent.
Woodson expects Jason Kidd to return Friday after the veteran
sat out one game with a sore lower back. Kidd missed the first
matchup with Milwaukee.
Bucks forward Larry Sanders was out Wednesday due to illness and
his status is uncertain.