Well That Sucked. 4 Reasons Why Milwaukee 135 NY 101 on 3-11-21

The Knicks were actually up 11-7 in this game, and 16-13. And then Milwaukee took charge. For the rest of the game. It got worse and worse. Here’s how:

1. Milwaukee Defense

At the start of the game Elfrid Payton was driving for buckets to carry the Knicks to that 11-7 and 16-13 lead. Milwaukee then started clogging the middle and going off on the other end as Brooke Lopez and Khris Middleton started scoring.

Milwaukee keyed their defense on Julius Randle, bottling him up inside with Brooke Lopez and Giannis Antetokounmpo and also stinting Randle’s passing.

Noel had a hard time with Brooks Lopez’s size; Noel had 2 pts and a -22 to Lopez’s 14 pts (on 6-11), 5 blocks and a +26.

2. Knick Starters Fail; 2nd Team Provides Spark

Before you know it, the Knicks were down 27-18. The second team came in, and, led by Immanuel Quickley and Alec Burks, got the Knicks back into the game. NY was down 32-27 at the end of the 1st quarter, and down 44-42 midway thru the 2nd. Quickley finished with 15 points on 3-10 shooting, and Alec Burks made like Kobe Bryant — scoring 17 points from all angles on 7-12 shooting (2-6 from 3), 3 rebounds, and 8 assists.

Then the Knicks starters came back and got waxed. By the half it was Milwaukee 68 NY 51.

Milwaukee is a good offensive team. They have shooters like Donte DiVincenzo and Jrue Holiday on the starting team, and snippers like Bobby Forbes coming off the bench. And then they have Greek Freak, and Kris Middleton, and Brooke Lopez inside. And they are very well coached. The Knick defense had to be really strong for 48 minutes to compete, and they didn’t.

Said coach Tom Thibodeau: “We got off to a slow start with our starters; the bench came in and played well, gave us a shot to get back into it. Then when our starters came back in at the end of the half, we didn’t end the half well, and we didn’t start the 3rd well — so it was disappointing.”

Thibodeau blamed the Knick defense for the poor play: “We didn’t take care of transition, we didn’t take care of the paint, we didn’t take care of covering the line, and we didn’t finish our defense by rebounding well. You can’t do it for stretches of the game; you have to do it from start to finish.”

Bobby Forbes came off the Milwaukee bench and lit the Knicks up for 21 points on 7-9 shooting (7-7 from 3).

DJ Augustin also hurt the Knicks with 12 points on 4-4 shooting (3-3 from 3); Elfrid Payton was guarding him for some of that. After the initial good start, Payton’s play fell off in this game — he missed shots (finished 4-14 for 10 pts) and didn’t guard Augustin well. It was revealed after the game that Payton had partially pulled his just-healed hamstring again, so that probably accounted for his overall poor play in this game. Knicks Twitter ripped Payton something awful after this game — to the level of it was his fault the Knicks lost.

Frank Ntilikina played 15 minutes for the 2nd team and had 0 points on 0-3 shooting (0-2 from 3) but made some good defensive plays and had only a -5.

3. Greek Freak Statement Game

The Knicks did well defending Giannis Antetokounmpo in the 1st quarter, but then he took off. Greek Freak seemed to be making a statement in the All Star Game, where he was 16-16 from the floor for 35 points to take MVP, and made another statement in this one, up against upstart All Star Julius Randle. In this game, Greek Freak had 24 points on 8-12 shooting, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and a +34 to Randle’s 7 points on 3-12 shooting, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and a -19.

4. Barrett Bright Spot

RJ Barrett was a bright spot for the Knicks throughout the game, with his drives to the hoop and outside shooting. Barrett had 22 pts on 9-15 shooting (1-2 from 3, and 3-4 in free throws), 5 rebounds, 2 assists but a -27 since he was part of the starting team that played so badly as a group. When asked about Barrett after the game, coach Thibodeau said “He’s put a lot of work into his shooting, so that’s coming around” but then Thibs went on about how the starters caused this loss (quote above).

The Boxscore


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