The Atlantic Division-leading New York Knicks trailed the Milwaukee Bucks for most of their Friday night match-up at Madison Square Garden, but fought back in the second half to win their third straight game, 96-86.
Carmelo Anthony started the game with what the Knicks have been known for this season; he shot and scored on a three-point shot. The Bucks started the first quarter shooting 2 for 10, and the Knicks led, 11-8, after six and half minutes of play. The Bucks picked up their scoring pace, going 10 for 22 to lead, 28-25 at the end of the quarter.
The Knicks shot 7 for 18 in the first quarter with Jason Kidd and Iman Shumpert going 0 for the first quarter, missing two shots each. Shumpert would make his first basket in the fourth quarter. Milwaukee led in rebounds, 13-10, but New York had an 8-4 advantage in points in the paint.
Mike Dunleavy hit a three-pointer to put the Bucks at 5 for 8 on threes and giving them an eight point lead with three minutes expired in the second quarter. By halftime end the Knicks were able to draw their deficit down to six points, 53-47.
Milwaukee’s Ersan Ilyasova led all scorers at the half with 16 points. Anthony led the Knicks with 13 points. Both teams scored 18 points on three-pointers with the Bucks doing so on 13 shots and the Knicks on 18 shots. The Bucks shot 20 for 42 on field goals for a 47.6 shooting percentage. The Knicks were 16 for 38 for a 42.1 percentage.
The Knicks trailed by three points after a J.R. Smith 25-foot three-pointer in the third quarter. Anthony dropped the Bucks lead down to two points with a free throw, but the visitors extended it to nine points with two Ilyasova free throws, a three-pointer by Brandon Jennings, and two Jennings’ free throw nearly a minute later.
Anthony hit a three to bring the Knicks within four points of the Bucks with 3:13 left in the quarter. An alley-oop from Felton to Chandler led to a convincing dunk and a two point deficit. On the next trip down the court, Felton had another assist as he fed Smith the ball for a three-pointer to put the Knicks ahead by one point.
The 24-12 run that straddled halftime dramatically changed the game. The lead shifted from team to team with three lead changes at the end of the third quarter. The Knicks were outscored in the first and second quarters, but they won the third quarter, 27-20, and headed into the fourth quarter with a 74-73 advantage.
In the early minutes of the final quarter, momentum had clearly swung to the home team as Stoudemire scored in the paint to put the Knicks ahead by five points. The Knicks completed a 22-point reversal of fortune with a Felton three-point shot and the Bucks called timeout with 4:58 left in the game.
Felton flourished in the fourth quarter, scoring seven points in the final frame. The Knicks won the game on fast break points, 15-8 and points in the paint, 28-20. Tyson Chandler grabbed a season-high 20 rebounds and the Knicks led in rebounding, 48-38. The Knicks grabbed an advantage in three-pointers in the second half, making 13 of them to Milwaukee’s eight made threes.
Anthony led all scorers with 25 points, and lengthened his franchise season-record to 31 straight 20-point games. He also had seven turnovers and made just 7 shots on 22 attempts.
For the Knicks, Stoudemire and Smith each contributed 17 points, and Felton finished with 14 points. Ilyasova led the Bucks with 19 points, followed by Monta Ellis with 16 points, and Jennings with 14.