This has been a crazy week for the Knicks as an organization. As the season’s end nears closer, all the talk seems to be about if Carmelo Anthony is leaving town to play for a contender or the franchise-altering move that is known as Phil Jackson in the front office. However, there is still basketball to be played and the Knicks still have a realistic shot at making the playoffs this season.
That being said, the Knicks are riding a five-game winning streak- better late than never I guess- as they take on the Milwaukee Bucks during a matinee at Madison Square Garden today. The Knicks will be looking for revenge as the Bucks took them down last time they met in Milwaukee, which sparked just one of the many rough patches the team has faced this season. Sitting just three and a half games out now, the Knicks will need as many W’s as they can get to even think about a shot at the playoffs.
The Knicks will get a boost back to the starting lineup as Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler are both expected to return for the game. Stoudemire has really stepped up his game lately, which has been a major part of this late-season run the Knicks are on. The previous five games before he sat out, he was averaging 18.0 points per game and added a post presence in the starting lineup. Chandler has been out the past two games with an off-court “personal issue.” Let’s hope it wasn’t too serious and his mind is on basketball. Of course, we all hope everything in his personal life is well.
Another major difference in the Knicks lately has been the play of the supporting cast. Cole Aldrich made his first NBA start and had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, which were also both season highs. Tim Hardaway Jr. seems to have found the shooting touch again after chipping in 22 points against the Celtics last time out. Jeremy Tyler has been playing solid as well, however, he needs to work on his silly fouling.
The Milwaukee Bucks come in losing back-to-back games, including four straight losses on the road. They always seem to play the Knicks tight however and should not be taken lightly. Last time these two met Brandon Knight scored 25 points and four other Bucks finished in double figures, which leads me to my matchup of the game which is Raymond Felton vs. Brandon Knight. Felton has been playing well of late and will need to step up his defense and the Knicks should be able to get this win.
For the Knicks this is a trap game because afterwards they will play the best team in the Eastern Conference. They will need to focus on the task at hand and not worry about the next game. The Knicks have won four straight games against the Bucks at Madison Square Garden.