Bucks use strong D to beat Knicks

November 2, 2008 6:36:55 PM PST
Richard Jefferson and Ramon Sessions each scored 18 points, and the Milwaukee Bucks used a strong defensive effort to shake off Michael Redd's injury and beat the New York Knicks 94-86 on Sunday night. Redd added 16 points, making all three 3-point attempts, before leaving with a sprained right ankle with Milwaukee leading by 16 late in the third quarter. Charlie Villanueva also scored 16, while Andrew Bogut had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Quentin Richardson had 28 points and nine rebounds for the Knicks, who have shot under 40 percent in their past two games, making Mike D'Antoni's offensive system look awful. With Stephon Marbury again inactive, they went scoreless for more than 3½ minutes to start the third quarter and never recovered. They clanged jumpers, botched layups and finished at 37 percent for the game.

The Bucks have been one of the NBA's worst defensive teams recently, allowing 103.9 points per game last season. So they turned to Scott Skiles, who always had good defensive clubs in Chicago, and gave up just 95.3 through their first three games.

They were even better in this one, allowing few good looks and only 38 points across the middle two quarters before the Knicks used a late flurry to make the final score close.

Leading 49-45 at halftime, Milwaukee scored the first 12 points of the third quarter, taking a 61-45 lead on Redd's 3-pointer with 8:43 remaining in the period. The Knicks finally got on the board on Richardson's drive 21 seconds later, but were only 6-of-19 (32 percent) in the period.

Redd went to the locker room when he fell awkwardly chasing a loose ball late in the quarter on a play that ended with Bogut's dunk that extended Milwaukee's lead to 72-56 with 2:19 left.

The Bucks sputtered a bit without him, but regained control behind a pair of baskets from Sessions and a three-point play from Jefferson, going on to snap a three-game losing streak at Madison Square Garden.

It was an impressive turnaround for the Bucks, who yielded 29 points in the third quarter of their 91-87 home loss to Toronto on Saturday night.

The Bucks got off to a good start, shooting 52 percent in the first quarter to build a 27-23 lead. They were still ahead by four at halftime, surviving an ugly stretch during a sloppy second quarter, when Jefferson and Villanueva missed open layups on the same possession, then Bogut hit the bottom of the backboard on the next trip.