Wisconsin's own Steve Novak stars as Knicks roll to big win in Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE -- The Knicks didn't wilt without Jason Kidd. They prospered.
In their second game without the sore-backed point guard, the Knicks outclassed the Bucks at the Bradley Center, 102-88, Wednesday night.
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks (10-4) with 29 points and eight rebounds, shooting 9-for-18 in 30:28 of play.
Wisconsin native son Steve Novak, who starred in this arena at Marquette and is treated like Elvis here, started the second half and finished with 19 points. He was 5-for-7 on three-pointers as the Knicks shot 11-for-21 (52.4 percent) from behind the arc.
"There's no place like playing at home," said Novak, who did not click his heels when he said it.
The only thing Novak did wrong Wednesday night -- at least according to his teammates -- was not attempt to dunk on a breakaway in the fourth quarter. He settled for a layup instead, drawing boos from the Knicks on the bench. "I was thinking dunk," Novak said. "But we all have our limitations."
Novak said he never has dunked in an NBA game.
Tyson Chandler, who had 17 points and eight rebounds, made a reference to the 1992 movie "White Men Can't Jump."
Said Chandler: "He should have just run out to the three-point line."
The Knicks could afford to laugh. After losing at Brooklyn in overtime on Monday without Kidd, they dominated the Bucks (7-6) from the second quarter on.
"We did have a nice little spurt at the end of the second quarter," coach Mike Woodson said. "But I thought the third quarter was where we really picked it up from the defensive standpoint."
Raymond Felton, who shot 3-for-19 on Monday, hit 5 of 10 shots Wednesday night and finished with 12 points and seven assists. Pablo Prigioni added 11 points with seven assists off the bench to give the Knicks the two point-guard look they had used so successfully when Kidd was healthy.
It took a while for the Knicks to find their groove. They trailed 26-23 after one quarter. Woodson started the second with a lineup of Novak, Prigioni, Rasheed Wallace, Ronnie Brewer and Chris Copeland.
It worked. Prigioni hit two threes and had a steal and layup for eight points. Novak hit two threes and also had eight points. Anthony (20 points in the half) and Felton returned and sparked the Knicks to a 58-48 halftime advantage.
Kidd did not make the trip. He is day-to-day with back spasms. "We're always worried about guys when they go down," Woodson said. "We just don't know. He's got the back spasms and it's going to be a day-to-day thing. Hopefully, he'll be back soon."
Before the game, Chandler suggested it might be good for the Knicks to learn to play together without Kidd, especially if the 39-year-old is going to be out for a while, as it seems he might.
"We're still a young team learning," Chandler said. "I don't mean in age, obviously."