By Mattias Karen
AP Sports Writer
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 Thursday night, 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 Antetokoun 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.”
Anthony said he doesn’t expect to miss more playing time in the near future following his two weeks on the sidelines. “I’m back. I’m back playing,” the forward said. “I really think these two weeks really helped.” Fisher said Stoudemire could have played more minutes, but that it wasn’t worth putting him back in for the second half with the game already decided. “He could have, he was physically able to,” Fisher said.
Knicks: New York also played in London two years ago, beating Detroit 102-87. Anthony had 26 points in that game and Kidd started at point guard for New York. … Knicks jerseys vastly outnumbered Bucks shirts in the crowd.
Bucks: Milwaukee has won six of its last eight games to improve to 21-19. The Bucks are 3-0 against New York this season. … Guard Kendall Marshall went down hard when fighting for a loose ball in the second quarter. He stayed on the floor for a minute before being helped up and escorted to the locker room. He didn’t return.
Knicks: Host New Orleans on Monday night.
Bucks: Host Toronto on Monday night.