Bucks add to Knicks misery at O2

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Published: Thursday 15th January 2015 by The News Editor

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A trip to London did nothing to change the New York Knicks’ fortunes as they slumped to a 16th straight NBA loss, beaten 95-79 by the Milwaukee Bucks at the O2 Arena.

The Knicks are deep in a rebuilding phase and not even the return of Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire from injury could help them as the Bucks ran riot in the early stages.

OJ Mayo scored 22 points and Brandon Knight added 20 as they closed the gap on Chicago at the top of the Central Division.

But it was another night of woes for the Knicks. Anthony, playing in the building where he won Olympic gold in 2012, scored 25 points despite a little ring rust, but it was no more than damage limitation.

The Bucks scored the first 14 points of the game, digging into their box of party pieces with less than four minutes gone as Giannis Antetokounmpo dunked Brandon Knight’s alley-oop pass.

A 9-0 charge from the Knicks in reply was only a temporary blip as they were plagued by turnovers and open misses, with the Bucks more than happy to pick up the pieces.

Anthony, who has said he will eventually need surgery on the knee injury which still hampers him, had 17 of New York’s 37 first-half points, but despite those efforts they went in trailing by 19 at half-time, the contest seemingly over.

The star-studded crowd, listed at 18,689 and littered with the usual array of footballers and musicians, was clearly tilted towards the Knicks and had something to cheer when they rallied to within 11 in the fourth quarter before the Bucks put them away.

Phil Jackson worked miracles as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls, but the fact the hobbled Anthony was by far and away the best player on their team underlined the size of the job he has on as president of these Knicks.

Prior to the game, NBA commissioner Adam Silver insisted it did not bother him that the league’s marquee teams, the Knicks and Lakers, are both woeful amid rebuilding programs at present, but no one could pretend London was being treated to the league at its best.

While the NFL is clear in its intention to one day soon have a team based in the capital, the NBA’s plans are less obvious.

This was the fifth NBA game to be played at the 02 since 2011, but while Silver is happy to talk generally about the benefits of growing the game, European expansion would create a far greater number of headaches than face the NFL given the intensity of basketball’s schedule.

For now, more games like this can probably be expected, and Bucks coach Jason Kidd might be the first to sign up. He was a player when the Knicks were last here, beating Detroit in 2013, before coaching Brooklyn to victory over Atlanta last year.

When New York might be ready to return is another matter.

Published: Thursday 15th January 2015 by The News Editor

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