Crawford made 16 consecutive shots en route to a career-best 52 points Friday, leading New York (19-26) to a 116-96 win over Miami. He eclipsed his previous best of 50 points at Toronto on April 11, 2004, when he was with Chicago.
“It felt great to get the win, more importantly,” Crawford said. “They embarrassed us pretty good when we were down there. It looked good, like everything was almost going to go in.”
Crawford missed his first four shots before going on the run that led to him finishing 20-of-30 from the field and 8-for-10 from 3-point range. His performance helped the Knicks avoid a third straight loss following a 101-83 defeat at Miami on Monday and a 112-107 loss to Phoenix on Wednesday.
“The way how Jamal played tonight was incredible,” Knicks guard Stephon Marbury said. “That was the best performance I’ve ever seen inside the Garden other than Michael Jordan.”
Crawford is averaging 34.7 points over the last three games. He averaged 10.5 points in his previous six contests, but has now raised his season average to 17.6 per game to rank second on the team behind Eddy Curry (19.4 ppg).
“He’s in a nice zone now,” Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said. “I told him not to get around too many people, to stay balanced and to stay focused.”
The Knicks hope Crawford can continue his hot streak with Curry potentially out against Milwaukee due to a strained left calf muscle. Curry missed a game for the first time this season on Friday.
Curry was a big reason New York beat Milwaukee in the only meeting this season, scoring a career-high 36 points in a 115-107 win. Crawford also keyed the victory with 25 points and nine assists.
The Bucks (17-26) hope to snap a six-game losing streak after falling 98-90 to the Suns on Friday.
This is Milwaukee’s longest skid since dropping eight in a row from March 20-April 1, 2005. That losing streak ended with a 106-102 win over the Knicks as Michael Redd scored 32 points.
Unfortunately for the Bucks, Redd, who is averaging 27.7 points, is nursing a strained patellar tendon in his left knee that will sideline him for at least two more weeks. The team is 1-9 since he suffered the injury in a loss to Cleveland on Jan. 5.
Redd’s injury prompted the Bucks to acquire Earl Boykins in a trade from Denver on Jan. 11. The point guard is averaging 19.8 points in eight games since the deal, including a career-high 36 in a 114-106 loss at Sacramento on Wednesday.