LONDON — Business trip or not, this certainly resembled a holiday at times for the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks followed up a few days of sightseeing in London with an easy victory over the NBA’s worst team, making for a pleasant flight back across the Atlantic.
O.J. Mayo scored 22 points, Brandon Knight had 20 points and six steals, and the Bucks routed New York 95-79 on Jan. 15, extending the Knicks’ franchise-record losing streak to 16.
“This was a great trip for our team,” Mayo said. “Great team bonding, great time sightseeing. … It was a pleasant trip.” It left a lot to be desired for the fans, though.
With the Knicks showing why they have lost 26-of-27 games and are an NBA-worst 5-36, the contest was a poor advertisement for the NBA in its annual London game that showcases its brand overseas.
The Knicks missed their first 10 shots — three in a 6-second span — and gave up 14 offensive rebounds, 10 in the first half. The Bucks took a 14-0 lead, were up by 24 in the second quarter and never let New York closer than 11 the rest of the way.
“We didn’t give ourselves much of a chance after the first few minutes of the game,” Knicks coach Derek Fisher said.
The return of Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire did little to spark New York.
Anthony led the Knicks with 25 points. Stoudemire was scoreless in 8 first-half minutes and didn’t play after the break. Anthony missed the previous six games because of a knee problem, and Stoudemire had been sidelined since Dec. 25, also with a knee injury.
Even after being sidelined for two weeks, Anthony was surprised by New York’s slow start.
“It’s just a recurring act. It’s the same thing happening over and over again,” Anthony said. “We’re the only people that can control that.”
With both coaches resting their starters in the fourth quarter, New York cut it to 87-76 with 4:38 to play. But Bucks coach Jason Kidd put Knight back in — while Anthony stayed on the bench — and Mayo finished off the game with a 3 that made it 92-76 with 3 minutes left.
Mayo scored 16 points in the first half on 6-of-8 shooting. Giannis Antetonkoumpo added 16 points for the Bucks, Khris Middleton had 14 and Zaza Pachulia 11.
Knight and Mayo, meanwhile, played with all the intensity that New York was lacking. Knight did a bit of everything, adding six assists and five rebounds.
“I just try to lead by example,” Knight said. “I just try to be an extension of coach Kidd. But our bench also does a great job of being a calming influence.”
(MATTIAS KAREN, AP Sports Writer)