Knicks beat the Bucks on the road

March 10, 2009 9:53:57 PM PDT
Nate Robinson drove the lane at will, particularly during a critical stretch in the fourth quarter. Just about everything fell from outside for Larry Hughes. It was the kind of night where things came together for the New York Knicks - a rare occurrence this season, especially in close games or on the road.

Robinson scored 10 of his 32 points in the final five minutes and Hughes added a season-high 39 as the Knicks beat the Milwaukee Bucks 120-112 on Tuesday for only their eighth road win of the season.

"It gives them some credence, 'OK, we can do this, let's do this again,"' Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Hopefully we'll be able to string some wins together and see what happens."

David Lee added 19 points and 18 rebounds for the Knicks, who were becoming frustrated by recent close losses.

"I thought that we could play better," Lee said. "It's been frustrating last couple of games for everybody. We've been wanting to get a victory to push us in the right direction and end this season on a positive note."

Charlie Villanueva scored 32 for the Bucks, who came into Tuesday's game clinging to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference despite a season filled with significant injuries.

"We didn't play like we wanted to be in the playoffs," Milwaukee's Charlie Bell said. "There's a lot of games left, but if we don't turn it up, we're going to be on the outside looking."

Bucks coach Scott Skiles said his team's defense continued its recent inconsistency.

"They took it to us," Skiles said. "Hughes was the one player I thought stood out in the first half, and then Nate got really aggressive and then David Lee got really aggressive and we didn't have answers."

Robinson and Milwaukee's Ramon Sessions took center stage down the stretch, with Robinson coming out on top.

"This shows we're a team, together," Robinson said. "Us as a whole, we can go out on the road and win a game. It shows a lot about the team."

Milwaukee took a 99-98 lead on a putback slam dunk by Francisco Elson with 4:21 remaining in the game, but Robinson answered with a three-point play on a layup and foul by Elson. After a miss by Milwaukee's Luke Ridnour, Robinson again scored inside on the Knicks' next possession.

Elson hit a pair of free throws, but Lee scored inside on a feed from Robinson to give New York a 105-101 lead with 3:15 left.

Sessions scored for Milwaukee, Robinson answered with another layup and Sessions scored again to cut New York's lead to 107-105 with 2:40 to play.

After a Knicks timeout, Robinson hit another driving layup and drew a foul from Bell, hitting the free throw to convert the three-point play. But Sessions scored yet again, cutting the lead to three.

Hughes then hit his fifth 3-pointer and New York took a 113-107 lead with 1:34 left. Robinson was called for an offensive foul, but the Bucks failed to score and had to start fouling.

Sessions finished with 22 points.

Milwaukee led 65-56 at halftime despite Hughes' four 3-pointers. Hughes had 20 points in the first half on 7-for-11 shooting from the field.

"Everything he threw up at the basket - hand in his face, wide open - he was making everything," Bell said. "You've got to give credit where credit is due."

Hughes, who came to the Knicks in a February trade with Chicago, said he sees progress.

"We have good pieces on this team," Hughes said. "We just have to find a way to put everything together and play the way a playoff team should play for 48 minutes, and that's hard and aggressive on both ends of the court. We did that in the second half, no question."

Notes: It was another rough night for struggling Knicks guard Chris Duhon, who took only five shots in just over 32 minutes of playing time Tuesday. He scored five points. ... New York avoided being swept for the season by Milwaukee for the first time since the 1990-91 season.