Plan Worked But Knicks Out Classed — Dec 21, 2019: Milwaukee 123 NY 102

The Knicks came in with a game plan: stop Milwaukee in the paint, said coach Mike Miller afterwards. The Bucks came in as the number 1 “paint team” in the NBA, averaging 54 points in the paint. The Knicks executed their plan and took the paint, but Milwaukee took the outside, catching FIRE out there — especially Brook Lopez — to explode to a 17-4 lead to start the game. Then led 23-6.

The Knicks regrouped, after multiple timeouts by coach Miller, and got back in the game — to within 9 points before the 1st quarter was over, and to within 8 with 1:32 left in the half. But Milwaukee got the benefit of some calls:

  • RJ Barrett got hit while taking a shot, a foul was called but ruled not in the act of shooting; it was the 2nd time that happened to the Knicks in the 1st half.
  • George Hill fouled Frank Ntilikina (pushed him) late in the half with the Knicks down 8 — but Ntilikina was called for the foul.
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo traveled badly — but there was no call.
  • Seconds before the end of the half, Greek Freak traveled backing up but it wasn’t called, as he swung it to George Hill for a 3 and a 14-point Milwaukee halftime lead.

The Bucks ended up with only 8 points in the paint in the first half — the Knicks had executed their plan — but were down the 14 points.

Bucks Pull Away in 2nd Half

In the second half, Milwaukee kept hitting 3’s to pull away. The Knicks played hard, but their shot making could not keep up.

“We got it to within 8 a number of times,” said coach Mike Miller. “We needed one more stop and a score to take that next step.”

Individual Performances

Elfrid Payton started over Frank Ntilikina and had 10 assists with only 2 turnovers.

Kevin Knox jumped off the screen multiple times again — the 3rd straight game he’s done that. He had a couple of massive dunks and a blocked shot of Khris Middleton on the break. Knox had 19 pts on 7-12 (4-6 from 3) and a +8.

RJ Barrett had a strong bounce back game (after going 1-10 with 2 points last night in Miami). Barrett had 17 pts (6-16 and 2-4 from 3).

Dennis Smith Jr got 11 minutes in the 2nd half — Needed someone downhill and we gave Dennis a shot.

Allonzo Trier got playing time in the 2nd half and did well as usual (5 pts on 1-1, 3-4 from free throw line in 12 minutes and a +4). He won the TriAcura Dealers “Precision Pass of the Night” Award with this pass:

Julius Randle had his normal game (9-17 for 20 pts, 8 rebounds), Marcus Morris added 11 points, and Bobby Portis 7 pts and 9 rebounds. Mitchell Robinson fouled out — the first time he’s done that in a while — finishing with 6 points (2-4 from floor, 2-3 from free throw line), 3 steals and a block.


During the afternoon, before the game, former coach David Fizdale’s wife posted this tweet, which caused a stir in the Comments.

The Boxscore

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