Time is running out on the Milwaukee Bucks' opportunity to capture one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
The Bucks have eight games left and are now two games behind eighth place New York after a tough 111-107 loss to the Knicks on Wednesday. J.R. Smith made the go-ahead three-pointer with 1:04 remaining in that one as New York got past the Bucks at Bradley Center.
After Smith's three-pointer put the Knicks up, 108-107, the Bucks missed three consecutive shots on their ensuing possession.
Luc Mbah a Moute's putback layup had Milwaukee up 107-105 with 1:16 left, but Smith pulled up on the other end and knocked down the decisive three.
Monta Ellis then failed to hit a short jumper and Mike Dunleavy missed a three before being blocked by Carmelo Anthony on his next attempt. Two free throws from Steve Novak made it 110-107 with 19 seconds left, and Brandon Jennings' potential tying three was off the mark. Iman Shumpert then finally made 1-of-2 from the line to seal the New York win.
"This one hurts," Jennings said. "It seemed like the basketball gods were against us tonight."
Ellis finished with 35 points and 10 assists in the setback. Jennings added 22 points and Dunleavy finished with 19.
The Pistons, who are opening up a three-game homestand tonight, halted a three-game skid in Charlotte on Thursday with a 109-85 rout fueled by Greg Monroe's 25 points and 11 rebounds
Rookie Brandon Knight added 21 points and seven assists, as Detroit handed the dismal Bobcats their 14th straight loss. Jason Maxiell donated 17 points to go along with five rebounds, while three players added nine points, including Rodney Stuckey, who also dished out seven assists.
"I thought our guys played very hard," said Pistons head coach Lawrence Frank. "They really committed on the defensive end for the most part."
The Bucks have lost three straight at Detroit, including an 88-80 setback back on Feb. 3, a game in which Knight scored a career-high 26 points.