MILWAUKEE (AP) — Ersan Ilyasova had 20 points, and the rebuilding Milwaukee Bucks climbed above .500 for the first time in more than a year by fending off the New York Knicks for a 117-113 victory Tuesday night.
Zaza Pachulia added season highs of 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Bucks, who improved to 6-5 on the year. It was the first time the team had a winning record since March 20, 2013, when it was 34-33.
New York cut a 26-point deficit to 115-113 with 7.9 seconds left on a dunk off a baseline move by Carmelo Anthony.
Jerryd Bayless responded with two free throws for Milwaukee. He went 5 for 6 at the line in the final 26 seconds.
A desperation 3 at the buzzer by Tim Hardaway Jr. glanced off harmlessly off the rim. Anthony finished with 26 points, while Hardaway Jr. had 24.
The balanced Bucks had seven players score in double figures.
The neck-and-neck final few minutes were unexpected after the Bucks led by double digits for most of the first three quarters.
After shooting 60 percent in the first half, the Bucks went cold from the field down the stretch. Bayless’ jumper with 6:32 to go was Milwaukee’s only field goal until Ilyasova pump-faked Anthony to hit a 16-footer with 33.1 seconds remaining for a 112-106 lead.
The Bucks’ new era is off to a good start under coach Jason Kidd and forward Jabari Parker, the second overall pick in this year’s draft. Parker finished with 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
The 6-foot-11 Pachulia stepped into the lineup at center after Larry Sanders was a late scratch with a bruised thigh. The 12-year veteran more than held his own against the Knicks, reaching a double-double by early in the fourth quarter.
Knicks: Iman Shumpert returned to the starting lineup after missing a game with a hip contusion. He played 36 minutes after coach Derek Fisher said before the game that his shooting guard did not have a time restriction. … Fisher said he kept G J.R. Smith in the starting lineup for another ball-handler against the Bucks, who were fourth in the league in defense in allowing 92.6 points per game.
Bucks: Kidd brushed off a couple questions about the Bucks’ game on Wednesday against his former employer, the Brooklyn Nets. Kidd departed Brooklyn after one season in a messy split before being hired by the Bucks in June.
Knicks: At Minnesota on Wednesday.
Bucks: At the Nets on Wednesday.
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