The New York Knicks (48-26) are hosting the Milwaukee Bucks (36-38) in a contest that still has significance with the regular season winding down.
Neither team is secure in its playoff position yet, as the Knickerbockers are battling with the Indiana Pacers for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, while Milwaukee is still looking to clinch a berth—which could happen with any combination of Bucks wins and Philadelphia 76ers losses that adds up to two.
You can expect both squads to fight hard with something still left to play for, especially for the side playing in front of its home crowd at the Garden.
Let’s take a look at where you can watch this thrilling contest, check the latest injury report, highlight some players to watch, predict the final score and more in our Bucks vs. Knicks game preview.
When: Friday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.
Watch: FSN-WI (MIL), MSG (NYK)
Live Stream: NBA League Pass (paid subscription required)
Bucks Injury Report (via USA Today)
No major injuries to report
Knicks Injury Report (via USA Today)
F Kenyon Martin, Questionable, Knee
F Kurt Thomas, Out, Foot
F Amar’e Stoudemire, Out, Knee
F Rasheed Wallace, Out, Foot
Bucks Player to Watch: Monta Ellis
Ever since J.J. Redick was acquired at the trade deadline, Ellis has transformed into an absolute beast on the offensive end.
He’s played a ton of minutes and stepped up as the team’s leader, completely surpassing Brandon Jennings as the Bucks go-to guy. While the diminutive shooting guard still has plenty of defensive question marks, there is no doubting his efficiency on the other end.
Ellis has been especially great playing with Redick on the floor and Jennings on the bench, as it opens up the floor and gives the speedy guard plenty of room to work with. Plus, Redick’s man is going to have to think hard about coming off the three-point sniper to provide assistance.
Against New York, Ellis should once again have the green light to fire away against an opponent that doesn’t play the strongest defense. If he’s able to get to his spots and score buckets all night, Milwaukee could pull off the upset.
Knicks Player to Watch: Carmelo Anthony
There is no hotter play in the NBA right now than ‘Melo, who has scored 90 points in his past two outings.
After dropping 50 on the depleted Miami Heat on Tuesday night, he wasted no time destroying the Atlanta Hawks with a 40-point outburst Wednesday evening. It’s an incredible scoring stretch that could continue on Friday, as long as the superstar swingman is still feeling it.
Anthony has been in the zone and connected on 35-of-53 shots during that span, a blazing 66 percent field goal percentage. He’s also 8-of-12 from beyond the arc, which isn’t too shabby for a career 33 percent shooter from three-point land.
‘Melo has done well against the Bucks in two outings this year, averaging 27 points, eight rebounds and three assists while helping his team win both contests.
Tune in to see if he’s ready to go off for a third straight time and finish a sweep of the Bucks in 2012-13.
With the home crowd behind them and all the momentum in the world during this 10-game winning streak, the Knicks are getting the edge in this one.
Which team will win?
No one can stop Carmelo Anthony right now, while J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton are providing elite support in the backcourt. With defensive stalwart and rebounding machine Tyson Chandler back in the lineup, this team simply looks unbeatable.
Milwaukee may be able to put up a fight, especially if Ellis is heating up, but eventually the offensive firepower of the Knickerbockers will be too much for this squad to defend against.
Expect New York to make a late surge and push its winning streak to 11 when all is said and done on Friday night.
Knicks 103 - Bucks 95