Nursing a sore back, Houston played the first 20 minutes and
scored 27 first-half points. Redd and Desmond Mason played
inconsistent defense, and the New York captain hit 12 of his 14
But the Knicks lost another home game they dominated early,
blowing a double-digit lead and a great performance by Houston.
New York scored 34 points in the first quarter and bullied the
young Bucks around the court for a full half.
"We kind of let them come in on a tough night when they played
a tough game last night and kick our butts," Houston said.
"That's disappointing no matter how you put it."
By the end, the bigger Knicks were getting their shots swatted,
and their 45-38 rebounding advantage didn't matter because they
frequently turned the ball over. New York had six of its 17
turnovers in the fourth quarter.
Thomas started Milwaukee's comeback by hitting a 3-pointer and a
pair of free throws early in the third quarter, and Ford followed
with a pair of baskets to cut the Knicks' lead to 54-53.
"He's basically a one-man fastbreak," Thomas said of Ford, who
ran right at Charlie Ward and the Knicks down the stretch. "If he
can't score he's going to find us, and that's one of the things
that is going to get us over the hump.
"I'm happy he's on our side."
Redd then found Daniel Santiago for a 20-footer that gave the
Bucks their first lead with 8:29 left in the third.
The Knicks appeared to recover with an 8-0 run, but Thomas and
Kukoc hit 3-pointers to give Milwaukee a 77-73 lead going into the
Kukoc then took over, hitting four free throws and a jumper.
"That's what we're here for," Thomas said. "It's one of those
things where we can create mismatches all over the board."
Houston went 3-for-12 in the second half, and none of the other
Knicks could compensate.
"Coach gave us the day off," Ford said of the Bucks' reward,
"and you can't beat that."
Houston scored 50 points last season in the Knicks' only
victory over the Bucks on April 16. ... Bucks F Brian Skinner will
undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Thursday and is out
six weeks. ... Knicks C Dikembe Mutombo played 11 minutes in the
first half, but only four in the second. "They're very athletic
and present a problem so I couldn't play Dikembe because of the
size and quickness," New York coach Don Chaney said. Knicks F Kurt
Thomas had 19 rebounds, and Ward had 12 assists.