Ewing lasted only 29 seconds Tuesday night before leaving with a sore Achilles tendon, and the Knicks had their eight-game home winning streak snapped when Dell Curry hit a 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds left to give the Milwaukee Bucks an 87-86 victory.
"It was totally my fault on that play," said Latrell Sprewell, who left Curry wide open in the corner for the game-winner. Sprewell had a chance to redeem himself at the buzzer, but missed an open 3-pointer.
It was a tough loss for the Knicks, who led most of the game despite missing their leading scorer and rebounder. Ewing had an MRI performed on his left Achilles' tendon, which came back negative. His status is day-to-day.
Glenn Robinson scored 27 points and Terrell Brandon had 17 for the Bucks, who extended their winning streak to five games.
Larry Johnson scored 19 and Sprewell 17 for New York.
"We had the right people in, we just don't finish games right now," Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "And obviously, without Patrick, we're going to need some people to step up offensively and be efficient."
Milwaukee trailed for almost the entire second half but stayed within striking distance. After Sprewell hit a pull-up jumper from 17 feet to give the Knicks an 86-82 lead with 54 seconds left, Brandon made two free throws with 37 seconds left and Johnson missed a 15-footer with 15 seconds left to give the Bucks a chance to at least tie it.
Instead, they got a game-winner.
With Knicks defenders collapsing toward the middle, Robinson drew a double-team near the foul line and spotted Curry wide open in the corner in front of the Knicks bench. His shot hit nothing but net.
"Spree took a step or two that way, and that's all I needed," said Curry, one of the purest shooters in the league. "Spree's job was definitely not to leave me, but in that situation it's hard not to move over and help.
"I don't need a lot (of room). I'm a catch-and-shoot guy. I caught it and shot it."
It was the Bucks' second one-point victory over the Knicks in five days. The teams play again next Monday night.
Ewing, who missed 56 games and the first round of the playoffs last season with a broken wrist, took himself out of the game early in the first quarter grimacing in pain. He had been bothered by tendinitis in the left Achilles' tendon for several days, missed practice Monday and did not participate in the team's shootaround Tuesday morning.
"I felt it pull and was concerned, so I took myself out of the game," Ewing said. "I hope to return soon."
Exactly when that might be remains uncertain. The Knicks play five games in six nights beginning Thursday, and it seems unlikely Ewing will be able to put that much strain on his injury.
"The difference is hen Patrick went down last season, he was done," backup center Chris Dudley said. "That was it for the season, and all of a sudden the next day we were reworking the plays and regrouping. This obviously or I should say hopefully is not that type of situation."
The Knicks gave themselves some breathing room midway through the third quarter when Allan Houston, after missing eight of his first nine shots, hit two in a row and two foul shots in a 7-2 run that put New York ahead 65-58.
The Knicks were ahead 67-64 entering the fourth, and New York stayed ahead until Robinson scored five straight points on a short jumper and a 3-pointer with 2:02 left to tie it at 82.
Notes: The Bucks were playing the second of three games in three nights. Bucks coach George Karl faces his former team Wednesday night when Seattle visit Milwaukee. ... Chris Dudley filled in for Ewing and scored six points, his first points in 11 games. ... Brandon, the subject of trade speculation, reiterated before the game he plans to become a free agent this summer. Other members of the Bucks wondering if they'll be traded by Thursday's deadline are Tyrone Hill, Elliot Perry and Armen Gilliam. Perry said he expects to be sent to Portland for Carlos Rogers. ... Chris Childs of the Knicks went 2-for-3 on 3-pointers, increasing his league-leading percentage to 60 percent. He also got his 1,500th career assist.
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