There’s nothing good that lasts for too long with the New York Knicks this season, so while Carmelo Anthony puts on quite the impressive offensive performance, the rest of his teammates thoroughly disappoint again and again, leading to a second consecutive loss, this time 101-98 to the Milwaukee Bucks.
And when you lose to the Bucks (who won for only the 9th time this season), you know it was one awful performance. Anthony finished with 36 points on 13-of-25 from the field, but the rest of the Knicks shot only 39.6% from the field, with J.R. Smith putting on quite the performance off the bench with 30 points but still not being enough, as every one else played well below their usual level.
Brandon Knight was too much for the Knicks, especially in the finish, scoring the final five points which included a 3-point shot in Raymond Felton’s face with 1.4 seconds left on the clock. Knight finished with 25 points and 7 assists. Mike Woodson later said that he felt Felton could have done a better job in covering or at least disrupting Knight from taking that final shot.
Knight wasn’t the only one with a good performance for the Bucks, even though no one was quite as hot as the Knicks’ duo. Khris Middleton had 19 points, while rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo added 15 points from the bench along with the usual array of athletic feats on both ends of the floor, helping the Bucks win for the first time after six consecutive losses.
It’s been a season of streaks for the Knicks, for good and bad. They’ve had nine in a row and six in a row for the negative, five and four in a row for the good. This comes as their second consecutive loss, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the depression and disparity sometimes displayed in Knicks’ game from most players not called Anthony trickle up and affect the team’s best player.
So while the Bucks have a win just for the fun of it and the good feeling to spread around (there won’t be anything else), each loss feels like the Knicks hitting a new roadblock they thought they improved just about enough to avoid. Raymond Felton was only 1-of-7 from the field and the defense once again looked lazy and slow on too many occasions. Looking like that against the Miami Heat is one thing, but when you allow a bad team like the Bucks to dominate the game physically and through energy, it’s a worrying sign, not for the first time as well, that Woodson has to be concerned with.
Tyson Chandler tried to write it off as simply the NBA being a league that’s not about taking anyone for granted.
There are no freebies in the NBA. You can lose on any night to any team if you don’t play well.
Sometimes a loss is just a loss, but plenty of times there’s a lot more to it, and in a streaky team like the Knicks every hint of falling off the wagon means that the playoff being in their sights aren’t getting any closer.