Andrea Bargnani attacks the basket as Giannis Antetokounmpo and John Henson defend. Ekpe Udoh looks on, anxiously.
Brandon Knight scored a career-high 36 points, but the Bucks fell to the New York Knicks 107-101 Wednesday at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
In a game where eight players saw at least 40 minutes, Knight’s big, um, night, was not enough to overcome a combined 69 points from Carmelo Anthony, Beno Udrih and J.R. Smith. Both teams shot poorly from the field, as Milwaukee converted 41.5 percent of its field goals compared to just 37.6 percent for New York. Anthony ‘s 29 points required 29 shots – and a game-high 55 minutes – while Smith scored 19 points on just 7-of-23 shooting, including a whopping 5-of-17 from downtown.
Khris Middleton and John Henson each scored 20 points for Milwaukee. Middleton played a team-high 52 minutes and added nine rebounds, while Henson grabbed 14 boards in 51 minutes. Giannis Antetokounmpo, making his first NBA start with O.J. Mayo (personal) out, had a quiet 10-point, seven-rebound performance before fouling out in the second overtime.
Making his return to the court after missing a month-and-a-half with a fractured fibula, Tyson Chandler played 37 minutes and scored nine points to go with nine rebounds and three blocks. Toward the end of the game, he experienced calf cramps, likely a product of his still-improving conditioning.
“I was willing to do whatever it took to get a win,” Chandler said. “I told coach, don’t put me on a minute restriction. Whatever you feel like you need or whenever you need me out there, just keep me out there.”
As the score indicates, the game was close throughout as both teams struggled to score. They combined for 32 turnovers but just 10 fast break points. New York clung to a one-point halftime lead, and the teams traded punches throughout the second half. A Brandon Knight three – one of six on the night – gave Milwaukee an 81-79 advantage before an Anthony jumper on the ensuing possession knotted the score. Back-to-back threes by New York in the final two minutes gave the Knicks an 87-83 advantage with just under 1:20 to play.
After a Knight layup brought Milwaukee within two, Smith took an ill-advised three-pointer and Ersan Ilyasova drew a shooting foul on the other end. Ilyasova sunk both free throws to tie the game at 87 with 31 seconds remaining. Milwaukee forced Beno Udrih into a missed jumper and called a timeout with 19 seconds on the clock. On the final possession, Henson missed a wide open 15-footer with five seconds remaining. Middleton corralled the rebound but was only able to draw iron on a desperate fade-away heave.
With a 94-92 advantage in overtime number one, New York put the ball in the hands of Anthony to try to seal the victory. His 18-foot jumper with 15 seconds remaining missed, but Tyson Chandler controlled the offensive rebound and kicked it out to Andrea Bargnani on the perimeter. Then the unthinkable happened:
Following “The Shot,” Henson was able to tip in a Knight miss with less than a second remaining to send the game into a second overtime.
New York was finally able to outlast Milwaukee over the final five minutes, outscoring the Bucks 13-7 in the period.
– O.J. Mayo did not play because he was attending his late grandmother’s funeral. He’s expected to rejoin the team and play Friday versus the Cavaliers.
– Fairly quiet in his first start, Giannis Antetokounmpo showed he’s capable of handling big minutes in close-game situations. Though he took only two shots, Giannis played nearly all of the fourth quarter and overtime and played a major role in Carmelo missing 20 shots. He also had this nifty, if not questionable, and-1 midway through the third quarter:
Box scores (click to enlarge):