The New York Knicks host the MIlwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden Monday night (7:30 p.m. ET, TV: MSG, Radio: ESPN 1050 AM) in a critical game. The Knicks (24-25) are 1.5 games ahead of the Bucks (22-26) for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Both teams have fewer than 20 games remaining.
"That is a real big game for us. Going up against them, fighting for that eighth spot. The way we have been playing...we want to continue to keep playing. We need that game. We are going to be doing everything in our power to get that game," Carmelo Anthony told Knicksnow.
The Knicks will face the Bucks without reserve center Jared Jeffries, sidelined for the next two weeks due to inflammation in his surgically repaired right knee. Amar'e Stoudemire, who was experiencing a back issue Saturday vs. Detroit, expects to play.
Milwaukee hold the tie-breaker advantage over New York, having won both meetings between the teams thus far this season. That makes it crucial for the Knicks to stay ahead of the Bucks for the final playoff spot.
The Bucks have a new look since the last time they faced the Knicks. Prior to the trade deadline, the Bucks shipped Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson out of town for the prolific guard Monta Ellis. Ellis is averaging 13.8 points per game thus far with the Bucks. Ellis left Saturday's game in the fourth quarter with an injured hand and his official status for Monday is unknown.