Knicks-Bucks Preview

The Associated Press

The Milwaukee Bucks' reserves are playing with quite a bit of confidence.

That doesn't come at a good time for the New York Knicks, who are looking to snap a three-game losing streak on the road.

The Bucks try to keep things rolling on the heels of their huge comeback victory as the Knicks visit Wednesday night in a battle of first-place teams.

After coach Scott Skiles cleared his bench late in the third quarter on Monday, his reserves led Milwaukee (7-5) back from a 27-point deficit in a 93-92 win at Chicago.

Ersan Ilyasova came off the bench for the first time in 2012-13, scoring 12 of his season-high 18 points in the fourth quarter as the Bucks outscored the Bulls 30-12 in the final 12 minutes.

Milwaukee's reserves, which helped the team snapped a three-game skid, outscored the Bulls' bench 56-10. The unit has been a strength for the Central Division-leading Bucks, who are first in the NBA in field goal percentage (48.0) and rank second in scoring (42.1) off the bench.

''We got different guys in the game,'' Skiles said. ''They played very well together, played with a lot of energy, played some good defense.''

Despite spraining his left ankle in the team's loss to Chicago on Saturday night, Brandon Jennings started and scored just six points on 2 of 9 shooting.

Jennings leads the league at 3.2 steals per game, but failed to record a steal for the first time in 2012-13.

Monta Ellis, Milwaukee's leading scorer at 19.1 per game, has averaged 12.0 over his last three games after finishing with 10 against the Bulls.

The Bucks, who rank near the bottom on the league in 3-point shooting (29.7 percent), won despite their continued struggles from beyond the arc. After making 3 of 15 on Monday, they're 13 for 77 (16.9) over their last four games.

Milwaukee will likely need a better effort from its starters against a New York team that's been tough on opposing reserves. The Knicks rank near the top of the Eastern Conference in defensive bench scoring (31.2) and shooting percentage (40.1).

New York (9-4) will try to avoid their fourth straight road defeat after falling 96-89 to the rival Nets on Monday night in a tough atmosphere at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The defeat dropped the Knicks into a first-place tie with the Nets atop the Atlantic.

Carmelo Anthony, second in the league at 26.3 points per game, had 35 and 13 rebounds against the Nets. He's averaging 33.7 points his last three games, having made 14 3-pointers and shooting 52.2 percent overall.

Tyson Chandler, the NBA leader with a 70.4 field-goal percentage, finished with 28 points on 12-of-13 shooting and 10 boards. The 7-foot-1 center has made 28 of 32 (87.5 percent) from the field over his last five contests.

Jason Kidd will miss his second straight game due to back spasms. Raymond Felton - second on the team in scoring at 15.1 points per game while averaging a team-best 7.1 assists - will have to bounce back after a 3-for-19 performance.

''I'm upset at myself. I had a bad shooting night,'' Felton said. ''I'm probably just as mad as any fan, any player, anybody you could think about.'

The Knicks lead the league in 3-pointers (11.7) and rank third in scoring (102.3), but had just six threes and 89 points while shooting 38.8 percent on Monday.

While New York looks for its third straight win against the Bucks, it has dropped four of five at Milwaukee.

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