Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New York Knicks vs. Milwaukee Bucks Post Game Recap April 11

Final Score: New York Knicks 111 Milwaukee Bucks 107 

Tonight was a game the Knicks desperately needed and they responded as so. The Knicks can breathe a slight sigh of a relief as they salvaged the season series against the Bucks and expanded their lead to 2 games over them for 8th place in the Eastern Conference with 8 games remaining in the regular season. The Knicks got off to a hot start and had to fight off a game Bucks squad the rest of the evening. It was a great team effort tonight, but they can not take it easy until that playoff spot is locked up and secure. 

-Carmelo Being Carmelo 

Carmelo Anthony again came up big for the Knicks, continuing his hot April. He scored 32 points tonight to pace the Knicks on the offensive end but also impacted the game in other aspects. Anthony finished the game with 10 rebounds and continued to show great effort on the defensive end. When your superstar is willing to play defense and give it his all, it sets the tone for the rest of the team. It is one thing to say how you would like to play; it is another thing to show it. Tonight, Anthony showed it and led his team in a must win game. 

-Resiliency from J.R. Smith 

J.R. Smith had a tough first half, struggling from the field and making a number of bone-headed plays on defense. But he did not let that affect him and came up biggest when the Knicks needed him. Smith knocked down what would turn out to be the game winning shot with 1:04 left in the 4th quarter, knocking down a 3 pointer as the man defending him went underneath a screen. 

It was quite an ending for Smith who has struggled in Milwaukee throughout his career, evident by the career 35.4% shooting percentage in the Bradley Center entering tonight. It looked as if tonight would be another one of those nights, as the first half started with a thud. Smith was single handily responsible for running the Knicks offense into the ground, stalling all momentum the team had built. This resulted in 1-4 shooting in the half, 2 bad fouls and a -16 rating as the Knicks blew a 14 point lead. 

Credit will deservedly be given to Smith for his heroics, but credit also has to be given to the coaching staff and Mike Woodson. Seeing a player struggle like Smith was you would understand the coaching staff giving up on him and putting him on the bench for the remainder of the game. But they showed confidence in Smith and Smith repaid them in as well a fashion as possible. 

-Strong Second Scorer 

The Knicks need to find a consistent second scorer behind Carmelo Anthony. Amar’e Stoudemire is improving, but is still considered to be some time away and Jeremy Lin is not expected to return unless the Knicks make a deep playoff run. 

Tonight, the scoring came from an unlikely source in Tyson Chandler. In addition to the 11 rebounds Chandler had and countless shots he changed, he scored 19 points on the night. It was an impressive 19 points from Chandler as he scored at least two times creating his own shot, and was perfect in the game from anywhere on the court (6-6 FG and 7-7 FT). It would be nice for Tyson Chandler to provide that offense on a nightly basis, but he is much more important to the Knicks on the defensive end of the court. 

-Controlled the Paint, not the Perimeter 

The Knicks were able to keep the Bucks off the glass pretty well tonight, as the actually held a slight rebounding edge over the Bucks in the game, out rebounding them 42-39. The Knicks were also able to limit the Bucks second chance opportunities and outscored the Bucks 50-46 in the paint. It was a good performance for the Knicks to build on in the paint, but the perimeter defense was a disaster. 

After holding Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis to 8-36 shooting for a combined 19 points and 9 assists, the Bucks backcourt exploded in the game tonight. Jennings and Ellis were as explosive as ever since becoming a tandem tonight. They combined for 24-45 from the field, scoring from everywhere on the court. They combined for 57 points and 17 assists this time around, running circles around the Knicks defense. They were able to take advantage of the switching that the Knicks rely so heavily on while playing defense and were able to take advantage by scoring themselves and getting their teammates involved. The Knicks will need to step up their defensive pressure not only to make the playoffs but if they believe they can actually accomplish something if they make it that far. 

The next game for the Knicks is Friday night as they return home to face the Washington Wizards. The game starts at 7:30 P.M. ET. 

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