for this game

Bucks drill depleted Knicks; Marbury dresses, does not play

Nov 22, 2008 - 5:36 AM By Nick Berenz PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- On a busy day that saw a pair of trades cost the team its top two scorers, the New York Knicks' highest-profile player, Stephon Marbury, disputed his coach's description of why he didn't play in a 104-87 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.

The separate trades of Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph left the Knicks with the league-minimum of eight active players but only seven saw action as Marbury never stepped on the floor.

According to New York head coach Mike D'Antoni, the decision was Marbury's.

"When the trade went down this afternoon, I told him one of the principles was gone, Jamal Crawford, and there's 30-35 minutes out there and they're yours if you want them and you're ready to go," D'Antoni said. "He said the team went in a different direction and he wasn't comfortable with the situation and he didn't want to play."

Marbury's account of the conversation portrayed the organization moving in a new direction without the services of its highest paid player.

"I was told they were moving forward and that I wasn't in the plans," Marbury said. "I was told that I wasn't in the plans today, and that's all I'm at liberty to say. I'm not the person that chooses who plays."

The gamesmanship off the court by the Knicks far outweighed that of what was played on it Friday.

Charlie Villanueva scored 20 points off the bench and Andrew Bogut added 14 and 17 rebounds to help snap the Bucks' three-game losing streak with a win over the shorthanded Knicks.

"I think everybody played well tonight, but Charlie V. was very aggressive coming off the bench, so he gave us that scoring punch off the bench," Bogut said.

The trades left the Knicks without a significant portion of their offensive firepower - starting with Crawford and his 19.6 points per game that were sent to the Golden State Warriors for forward Al Harrington.

"It's tough to see guys you're close to go but I can't judge any decisions being made (on trades) because they're all for the betterment of the team," Knicks forward Quentin Richardson said. "I have to do my part to do that, too."

Hours later, Randolph and Mardy Collins were sent to the Los Angeles Clippers for Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley. Randolph had been averaging team highs of 20.5 points and 12.5 rebounds.

"It's tough because it set us up in a difficult situation tonight but we have to realize this is a business and the guys are doing what they can to make this team successful," said Knicks guard Chris Duhon, who led the team with 20 points.

Both moves cleared significant cap space for the summer of 2010, when superstars including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are expected to become free agents. All three of the contracts acquired in Friday's deals come off the books after the 2010 campaign.

"We've got a new team coming in here tomorrow and we're going to get it done and get to the playoffs and the Knicks fans are going to be happy the next two years," D'Antoni said.

The Bucks attacked the Knicks early by jumping out to an 11-point, first-quarter lead. Without Randolph in the middle, Milwaukee outscored New York, 18-6, in the paint in the first quarter.

But Malik Rose and Chris Duhon sparked a 9-0 run capped by Rose's jumper with 6:23 remaining in the half. The Knicks climbed back to within three points at the break, 50-47.

"We competed in the first half and gave ourselves a chance, but you can make whatever excuses you want from there," Duhon said.

Down the stretch, the Bucks took advantage of the numbers, utilizing all 12 of their active players. Milwaukee opened the third quarter on a 7-0 run and the fourth quarter on a 21-5 burst to extend its lead to as many as 28 points with 6:48 remaining in the game at 93-65.

The Bucks' bench spurred both runs and registered 56 total points - led by Villanueva and Ramon Sessions, who collected 15 points and 10 assists.

"I thought our bench gave us a big lift and we made enough good plays to win the game," Bucks head coach Scott Skiles said. "Unfortunately for them, they only played seven guys, so Mike was running them in and out of the game in the first half trying to manage minutes."

Michael Redd missed his 10th consecutive game because of a sprained right ankle he sustained the last time the Bucks and Knicks faced off on November 2. Milwaukee has gone 4-6 without its All-Star and his 21.2 points per contest.

In addition to his contract situation, Randolph became expendable when Knicks team president Donnie Walsh was able to acquire the 6-9 Harrington. The forward, who originally was drafted by Walsh while he was with the Indiana Pacers in 1998, is expected fit well into D'Antoni's up-tempo offense.

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