TOK Game Preview – New York Knicks vs. Milwaukee Bucks

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The Knicks are flat-out steamrolling through their schedule right now and are looking to make it 11 in a row on their home floor against a sub-.500 opponent.

Current Standings – New York (48-26) – 2nd in the Eastern Conference (10 games behind the Miami Heat), 1st in the Atlantic Division (5.5 games ahead of the Brooklyn Nets). Milwaukee (36-38) – 8th in the Eastern Conference (22 games behind the Miami Heat, 2.5 games behind the 7th seeded Celtics), 3rd in the Central Division (11.5 games behind the Indiana Pacers).

Injury Update – New York – Kurt Thomas (out, foot), Amare Stoudemire (out, knee), Rasheed Wallace (out, foot), Kenyon Martin (out, knee). Milwaukee – No current injuries reported

Previous Meetings – The Knicks are 2-0 against the Bucks this season. They won 102-88 in Milwaukee on November 28th and 96-86 at The Garden on February 1st.

What’s at Stake – Although it isn’t official yet, the Knicks pretty much have the division in the bag, meaning Knicks fans should keep their eyes on the Pacers-Thunder score too. New York’s lead over Indiana is at only a half a game for the second seed, so it’s important for them to gain ground on a team facing a tough road game, especially considering that the Knicks will be making that same Oklahoma City trip on Sunday.

Perhaps even more important than a win for the Knicks is getting Tyson Chandler back up to snuff. He’s shown glimpses of ideal health over his first couple games back, but he’s barely been a contributor to their current win streak. What better team to start with than Milwaukee, who Chandler kicked off his string of three consecutive 20-rebound games against earlier in the year.

Key Matchup – Knicks interior defense vs. Bucks backcourt. The Bucks are far from a push over, but don’t have the offensive fire power to keep up with the Knicks if their guards aren’t scoring. Their trio of Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings, and J.J. Redick score 51.3 of their team’s 98.8 points per game, accounting for 52 percent of their offense. If the Knicks can make life in the paint difficult for them, Jennings and Ellis will become nothing more than volume jump shooters. The game plan is simple: Limit the backcourt and you limit the Bucks.

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