New York (7-20) at Milwaukee (15-11)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Milwaukee, WI
Temp: 66° F
  • Game info: 8:30 pm EST Fri Dec 30, 2005
  • TV: MSG, FSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Milwaukee Bucks will be without point guard T.J. Ford as they try to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season when they take on the struggling New York Knicks.

Ford, who started the first 26 games this season, suffered a sprained left foot 4:41 into Tuesday’s 109-98 loss to Miami. He was averaging 13.2 points and a team-high 6.7 assists in his first season since missing all of last year due to spinal cord surgery.

Without Ford, Milwaukee will have backup Mo Williams in the starting lineup. Williams, a leading candidate for NBA sixth man of the year, is second on the team with 15.0 points per game on 44.5 percent shooting.

Williams scored 24 points in the loss to Miami, but Milwaukee yielded 57 second-half points in its second straight loss.

“What I did tonight felt like it wasn’t enough,” Williams said. “You can’t go away feeling good.”

The Bucks are seeking to avoid their first three-game skid since losing four in a row from April 9-15.

While Milwaukee will be forced to use Williams as its starter at the point, New York is also having trouble at the position. That’s because leading scorer Stephon Marbury is averaging a career-low 6.1 assists per game as he continues to clash with new coach Larry Brown.

Marbury missed all seven shots and finished with only five points and three assists in a 105-95 loss at Orlando on Wednesday.

Brown had choice words regarding Marbury’s performance after the game.

“I think he just didn’t want to shoot the ball,” Brown said. “I thought he’d have 15-20 assists. Just one of those nights he maybe didn’t feel like he was on.

“He’s 0-for-7 shooting with three assists in 41 minutes. Just one of those things. He got the ball all the time. I ran as much stuff for him as I have all season. Maybe he didn’t feel like he had it. He got three assists and no steals.”

Marbury defended his approach.

“I went into the game mentally the same way I normally go into a game,” he said. “I don’t go into any game any different. Tonight, the flow of the game did not permit me to score a lot of points.”

New York has dropped nine of 10 and is 0-6 on the road against Eastern Conference opponents.

The Bucks have won eight of their last 12 against the Knicks, including a 112-92 rout at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 12.

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