An ungly end of year
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L
108
113
New York @ Milwaukee
108 - 113
Record: 7-21
Jamal Crawford scored 9 points and had 7 rebounds (AP Photo)
Jamal Crawford scored 9 points and had 7 rebounds (AP Photo)
MILWAUKEE (AP) - Stephon Marbury did his best to lift the struggling Knicks, but New York couldn't stop Mo Williams and the Milwaukee Bucks .

Marbury had 23 points and 12 assists for the Knicks in a 113-108 loss to the Bucks on Friday night, one game after he didn't hit a shot from the field and was criticized by coach Larry Brown.

''Everybody's trying to do what they can to win,'' Marbury said. ''No one is out there playing to lose, everyone is trying to contribute as far as playing defense, playing smart, playing together.''

Williams scored 30 points and Michael Redd added 22 to lead Milwaukee.

''Mo played tonight the way he's played all year,'' Bucks coach Terry Stotts said. ''Scoring 30 points on 17 shots is pretty effective, efficient.''

Williams, staring at point guard while T.J. Ford misses two weeks with a sprained foot, led the Bucks' dynamic backcourt as Milwaukee improved to 14-1 when scoring more than 100 points.

''I average 15, so I feel I have to score a little bit,'' Williams said. ''With T.J. out, I just have to find my places.''

Bobby Simmons had 18 points and Jamaal Magloire added 15 for the Bucks.

The Knicks dropped to 7-21 - matching their worst start since 1986-87 - and fell into last place in the Atlantic Division, percentage points behind Toronto (8-22).

''I've spoken to you after 28 games, and there was one game I was disappointed and I said that,'' Brown told reporters after the loss. ''Everybody makes a big deal (about it), I coached him for the next two days just like I always coached him. He's done what I asked and tries to win the game.''

Maurice Taylor scored 18 points, Channing Frye added 15 and Eddy Curry had 12 for the Knicks. But Taylor picked up his fifth foul with 7:36 left, and the Knicks were in the penalty with 5:03 remaining after Curry also picked up his fifth.

Williams, who finished 11-of-17 from the field with six rebounds and five assists, was the catalyst when Milwaukee took the lead just before the start of the fourth on a 9-0 run.

''Mo has more of a scorer's mentality - more of a 3-point shooter,'' Redd said. ''T.J. is more of a penetrator, a creator. They both bring a little something different to the table.''

New York, which went on a 4-minute stretch without a field goal early in the fourth, cut the Bucks' lead to 97-96 after Nate Robinson , who finished with 19 points, hit a 3-pointer and added two free throws.

Simmons answered with a fadeaway jumper and added a breakaway dunk. Then Williams scored on another fast break layup after a turnover by Jamal Crawford to give Milwaukee a 103-96 lead with 2:09 left. The Knicks never had the ball with a chance to tie after that.

''I was awful down the stretch,'' Crawford said. ''I missed two free throws, a 3-pointer and threw the ball away. That was uncharacteristic of me.''

Before the game, Brown said the situation with Marbury wasn't an issue. He was critical of his point guard after the Knicks' loss Wednesday to the Orlando Magic for not being aggressive enough.

Marbury finished that game with five points and was 0-for-7 from the field, but Brown said general manager Isiah Thomas hasn't asked about the dynamic and emotional playmaker.

''If it was a big thing for him, I'm sure he would address that,'' Brown said.

Marbury, who shot 7-of-15 from the field and was 9-of-10 from the free throw line, began to play frantically just before the half, first finding David Lee for a dunk for his ninth assist.

On the next possession, he called for the ball, turned it over in traffic and raced back down to strip Jermaine Jackson at the other end.

After Dan Gadzuric tipped a ball to a wide open Redd under the basket to cut the Knicks' lead to 57-54 with 1 second left, Marbury barely missed a 41-foot shot at the halftime buzzer.

Notes: The Bucks avoided losing a third straight game. The last time Milwaukee lost three in a row was a four-game stretch from April 8-15 last season. ... Hubie Brown quit after going 4-12 in 1986 and New York started 7-21, but won the next two games. ... It was the first game Andrew Bogut did not wear a mask since breaking his nose on Nov. 23 against Philadelphia.

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