• Novak Returns Home to Scorch Bucks

    Milwaukee - Steve Novak of the New York Knicks was in familiar territory at the BMO Harris Bradley Center Wednesday, and he burned the Milwaukee Bucks with his hot shooting and finished second in team scoring with 19 points, 10 behind forward Carmelo Anthony, who led all scorers with 29 in the Knicks' 102-88 win.

    Novak made 70 percent of his shots ( 7 for 10 ), including 5 of 7 from behind the arc. The Brown Deer and Marquette star played a season-high 40 minutes, and he made the most of it.

    "Coach (Mike Woodson) gave me good minutes," Novak said. "I think that's probably the most that I ever played. I was feeling good and, you know, coach had confidence in me. There's no place like playing at home."

    The 6-foot-10, sixth-year forward is a regular part of Woodson's rotation off the bench. "He's a nice piece of what we try to do defensively," Woodson said in his pregame press conference. "It's been tough on him so far in the early season. He's not been able to shake a lot of teams. I thought in the Detroit game (Nov. 25 at home) we were able to free him and he made shots.

    "He'll have nights where he's getting a lot of looks. There will be some nights where he's not getting looks. He just has to be ready to knock them down when he gets them."

    In the last five games prior to the Bucks contest, Novak averaged 21.6 minutes per game, shot 36 percent from the field and scored a total of 40 points, reaching double figures only once against the Pistons with 18 points.

    "I do know these (Bradley Center) rims well," Novak said. "I shot a few shots on these."

    If there ever was a time to help with offensive production with point guard Jason Kidd out with back spasms, the time for Novak was now. He didn't disappoint the hometown crowd or the Novak clan in attendance who watched him in the Knicks' only visit to the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

    "Basketball is a funny sport," Novak said. "Sometimes in warmups you make a hundred in a row and then you can't make a thing in the game. I just came in, knowing that I made a few shots on these rims, and I let it fly when I got it."

    And let it fly Novak did. He hit his first shot, an 18-footer, with 9 minutes 6 seconds in the second quarter and made two threes to finish with 8 first half points as New York led 58-48. Novak made three more 3-pointers in the second half. He stole the ball and thought about what to do on a breakaway to the basket: Try to dunk or lay it in.

    "It was a good thing that he laid it up," Woodson said after the game. Said Novak, "I was thinking about dunking, but we all have our limitations."

    Bucks coach Scott Skiles had no answers on how to stop Novak. "A couple of (baskets) happened off other guys' breakdowns," he said. "We turned our head in the first half and (New York point guard Pablo) Prigioni cut us along the back baseline and he fired (a pass) to Steve (who made the shot). He's a heck of a shooter. You have to be on him."

    If the Knicks are looking for a scorer off the bench who can give them a spark, then Novak may be the man to do it.