Monday, March 26, 2012

Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks Pre-Game News and Notes March 26

Monday March 26th 7:30 P.M. ET 
Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks 

The Knicks responded well off an ugly loss to the Raptors last week blowing the Pistons out of the water 101-79. The Knicks will have to bring that same mind-set into the game tonight as it is their most important game to date this season. The Knicks currently lead the Bucks by only 1 ½ games for 8th place in the Eastern Conference, and have lost the first two meetings this season to them. But this is a new Knicks team under Mike Woodson so hopefully the results can be different. 

-Injury Concerns 

The Knicks are already without defensive specialist Jared Jeffries for the game tonight and the next two weeks, but could possibly be without both starting Point Guard and Power Forward Jeremy Lin and Amar’e Stoudemire. Both players started experiencing pain during the 3rd quarter of the Knicks game against the Pistons on Saturday. 

Jeremy Lin was dealing with a sore right knee, but participated in the morning shoot around so his status is more promising than Stoudemire’s. Stoudemire experienced pain in his troublesome lower back, and stayed home to undergo treatment Monday morning. Stoudemire also needs to have an MRI, which will hopefully result in good news and not serious injury. 

-Defending Brandon Jennings 

Brandon Jennings has averaged 30 points per game this season against the Knicks, always showing up for games against the team that passed him up in the 2009 NBA draft. The Knicks will have to find a way to lessen his impact in the game as well as trying to stop newly acquired Monta Ellis. Expect to see a lot of Iman Shumpert even if Jeremy Lin is healthy. The Knicks will reply upon his and J.R. Smith’s perimeter defense to help slow down the Bucks backcourt. 

-Get To the Line, Control the Paint 

The Knicks need to attack the paint and get to the foul line against this Bucks team. They are small upfront, starting 6’9 Drew Gooden at center. If the Knicks are able to attack the rim at consistent basis that should open up good looks for the Bomb Squad (nickname for the Knicks bench). 

The Knicks also have to do a better job on the boards against the Bucks, as they were badly out rebounded last time around. If the Knicks are able to control the paint better this time around it will limit 2nd opportunites for the Bucks and allow the Knicks to better control the pace and tempo of the game, which should have a playoff atmosphere tonight at the Garden. 

-Carmelo Anthony’s Impact 

Carmelo Anthony has struggled with his shot as of late, but has not let it effect the rest of his game poorly. He is working his teammates into the game on offense, and is still rebounding well. It is also encouraging to see him playing hard on the defensive end of the court, something he had been hesitant to do since coming to the Knicks. Anthony has to get out of his funk to have the Knicks reach their full potential as a team, but also because he will be called upon to carry the team tonight if Amar’e and Lin are in fact out. This would be a great time for him to break his slump, against the team he had such a marvelous debut against last February. 

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