MILWAUKEE - The Knicks almost found an even more ridiculous way to lose than their last game, but a valiant performance by Tyson Chandler in his return helped them pull out a much-needed victory.
The All-Star center played 37 minutes in his first game back after breaking his right leg and made some big defensive plays in the Knicks' 107-101 double-overtime win Wednesday nightover the Bucks at the Bradley Center.
It remains to be seen if it can save embattled coach Mike Woodson, but a loss to Milwaukee, the NBA's worst team would have been devastating.
"It's good to have Tyson back," Woodson said. "I was hoping not to play him that many minutes. I'm sure his lungs are burned out by now. I apologized to him, but hell, we needed him."
After finishing with nine points, nine rebounds and three blocks, Chandler said, "I told Coach don't put me on a minute restriction, whenever you need me out there just keep me out there."
Chandler was hobbling late in the second overtime. He said he cramped up. The Knicks (8-17) hope that's all it is. If he suffered any type of setback they and Woodson could be in trouble, and Andrea Bargnani will be blamed for it.
Late in the first overtime, with the Knicks up 94-92, Chandler rebounded a Carmelo Anthony miss with 15.9 seconds left and passed it out to Bargnani. He inexplicably took a three-pointer instead of holding onto the ball and waiting for the Bucks to foul him. He missed the three, giving the Bucks another chance.
The Knicks' coaches and players were up on the bench, screaming and waving their hands, stunned that Bargnani made such an egregious and potentially costly mistake. As Bargnani rose up to shoot, Chandler looked disgusted, almost like he wanted to "choke him," he said.
The Bucks (5-20) capitalized as John Henson put back a Brandon Knight miss with three-tenths of a second left to tie it at 94. Anthony missed a three at the buzzer sending the game into double overtime.
"It was a bad decision," Bargnani said. "I hit a shot like a minute earlier than that. It was a bad decision. I was aggressive and it was a bad mistake."
Woodson said, "I don't know if he thought we were down. Obviously, he had something else going on in his mind. But we weathered the storm."
Had they not, who knows what it would mean for Woodson or the Knicks.
They had such an agonizing finish to their last game -- a one-point loss Monday to the Wizards that ended with Woodson not using one of his three remaining timeouts to design a final play. They and Woodson couldn't afford another one.
Anthony led the Knicks with 29 points, but needed 29 shots. He missed 20-of-29 shots. But he scored eight in the second overtime, including a huge three that put the Knicks up 104-98 with 50.1 seconds left.
"It was one of those dig-down deep games that we had to go get," Anthony said.
J.R. Smith was even less efficient. He scored 19 points on 23 shots, including 17 three-point attempts. Smith shot 5 of 17 from three. Beno Udrih added 21 points and took just 12 shots.
Knight scored a career-high 36 points. John Henson and Khris Middleton each added 20.
This was a battle of two of the worst teams in the NBA. Combined, they won 25 percent of their games coming into Wednesday night, and they showed why.The Knicks were up 87-83 after a Bargnani three-pointer with 1:23 remaining. But Knight scored inside on the next trip and after Smith misfired on a three-pointer, Ersan Ilyasova made two foul shots to tie it with 31.5 seconds left.
Udrih shot a short baseline jumper that hit the back of the rim and went out of bounds off the Knicks with 19.2 seconds left. The Bucks missed on two good looks on their last possession -- Henson and Middleton -- sending the game into overtime.
In the first overtime, back-to-back threes by Smith and Udrih gave the Knicks a 94-92 lead with 2:49 to go. But they couldn't close it out. They had their chances, especially after Chandler rebounded Anthony's miss and tapped it out to Bargnani
"I thought I shot an air ball and that's why he shot it quick," Anthony said. "The game should have been over with. The game should have been over with. We got to get better at that."