Mar. 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard Monta Ellis (11) passes the ball as New York Knicks point guard Baron Davis (85) defends during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Game 58 Preview: New York Knicks at Milwaukee Bucks

Offensive Efficiency:
New York: 103.0 (22nd)
Milwaukee: 105.8 (12th)

Defensive Efficiency:
New York: 100.4 (4th)
Milwaukee: 105.2 (16th)

New York: 93.5 (3rd)
Milwaukee: 93.3 (4th)

Projected Lineups:

New York: Anthony Parker, Donald Sloan, Alonzo Gee, Antawn Jamison, Tristan Thompson

Milwaukee: Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Carlos Delfino, Ersan Ilyasova, Drew Gooden


The Knicks lost 98-86 last night to a Derrick Rose-less Bulls team in Chicago last night.  Carmelo Anthony continued his tear last night, scoring 29 points, extremely close to his average of 29.8 PPG over his last eight games.  Perhaps a larger concern for the Bucks is Tyson Chandler, who controlled the paint with 15 rebounds and 3 blocks.  The Bucks cannot afford to let him control the middle in a way that none of their own players can.

With the loss, the Bucks have an extraordinary opportunity to move closer to a playoff spot.  If they win, they will pull even with the Knicks in the standings and clinch the head-to-head series with New York this season, which is the tiebreaker in case of a two-way tie.  If they lose, the Bucks will fall two games behind New York and the season series would end in a tie of two game apiece.  The Knicks would also hold a lead in the secondary tiebreaker: conference record.

For their part, the Bucks are now 4-1 in April, but they are coming off a frustrating loss against another plus-.500 opponent.  The Bucks picked up five technical fouls protesting the likes of this, this, and this (none of which were called as fouls), plus Serge Ibaka’s kung fu grip of Mike Dunleavy.  It is cliche to say, of course, but the Bucks need to channel that fire into a first-quarter burst tonight.

In the last matchup between the two teams, the Bucks fumbled away an ugly 89-80 game.  Monta Ellis made only 2 of 14 shots, while Baron Davis had an odd game of 13 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and 9 turnovers. Having Ellis outperform his former 2007 Golden State teammate would go a long way toward a win, but more importantly, the Bucks need to rebound. New York crushed them 54-41 on the boards and used their edge to pull ahead in the decisive third quarter.

Need a rebound, Milwaukee?  Find Ersan.  For the Bucks not to get bullied by New York, Ersan Ilyasova will need more than the two rebounds he garnered against the Thunder.  Ilyasova had a similarly frustrating game in Madison Sqaure Garden in the last Knick game, but  he was hampered by a back injury on that night.  Speaking of Ersan…

Interesting Stat:  Since February 10 — a period of more than two months — Ersan Ilyasova is hitting exactly 50% of his three-point attempts (33-66).

Bluegrass and Blue Edwards:  Negative Dunkalectics has an intriguing preview for this Bucks-Knicks game. Does anyone recall the ’93-94 pregame into described here?

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Tags: Baron Davis Blue Edwards Carmelo Anthony Ersan Ilyasova Milwaukee Bucks Monta Ellis New York Knicks Tyson Chandler

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