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MILWAUKEE -- For teams on long losing streaks, a visit from the Knicks is like a ray of sunshine. During their own six-game losing streak, the Knicks have managed to stop Portland's seven-game schneid, the Lakers' eight-game slide and, yesterday afternoon at Bradley Center, Milwaukee's eight-game free fall.

If only the Knicks could figure out how to help themselves.

The obvious answer is effort at the defensive end, but by the time they figured that out yesterday, it was a case of too little, too late.

Trailing by 13 points with 2:45 left, the Knicks put together a furious 15-4 charge to cut their deficit to two points - only to fall short of the Bucks, 106-102.

Jamal Crawford, who made only two of his first 16 shots and had missed 11 straight, hit a high-arching three-pointer with 17.3 seconds left to cut Milwaukee's lead to 101-99. But the Bucks (28-45) made nine of their last 10 foul shots to hold off the Knicks (29-43), who fell 6½ games behind Philadelphia for eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 10 games to go.

Not that the Knicks have a snowball's chance in July of making the playoffs, but coach Herb Williams at least would like to believe they're still trying. "The way we played the last four or five minutes," Williams said, "we've got to do that for 48 minutes. You can't do that at the end of the game, the middle of the game. You come out and play as hard as you can. You can't give any effort that's less than what we gave the last four or five minutes.",0,6108771.story?coll=ny-knicks-print
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