Another Heartbreaking Loss. Milwaukee 109 NY 103

It was a tie game at 103-all when Grayson Allen got the ball behind a screen on the left side and hit a fall-away 3 with 30 seconds left, RJ Barrett draped all over him.

The Knicks came down the other end and RJ Barrett missed a well-defended 3 with 22 seconds left. After that — NY had to foul and Milwaukee hit their free throws. Game over.

“It’s a make or miss league,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “We missed.”

Still the Knicks pushed the Milwaukee Bucks — 2021 champs who currently have the #2 record in the NBA — to the brink.

“It was a hard fought game,” said Thibodeau. “They’re a great defensive team. They have two 7 footers. (Jrue) Holliday is a terrific defender. (Jevon) Carter is a terrific defender. (Pat) Connaughton gives them a lot. We know Bobby (Portis) is a real good competitor. But I thought we got some good shots we didn’t make. I like the way we competed. We did a lot of good things.”


1. Barrett Had a Strong, Efficient Game

Despite the missed 3 at the end, for which he was crucified by many on Knick Twitter as being a losing player — RJ Barrett had a strong, efficient game: 26 points on 8-15 shooting (2-4 from 3, 8-9 in free throws).

2. Knicks Missed Free Throws

The Knicks have been excellent at free throw percentage as a team this year — but not this game. And this was not the game to miss free throws. The Knicks were 13-20 from the free throw line. Milwaukee was 21-26 from the line.

Half of the Knick misses were due to Jalen Brunson uncharacteristically going 1-4 from the line.

Could’ve used those free throws.

3. Robinson Beasted

Mitchell Robinson came in saying he wanted to take on Giannis Antetokounmpo defensively. He did. It was a team effort guarding the Greek Freak — and the Knicks did ok, but Giannis still got 37 points on 13-25 shooting (2-8 from 3; 9-12 in free throws), with 13 rebounds and 7 assists.

Robinson had a great game — beasting inside for 20 rebounds — 11 of them offensive — with 7-9 shooting for 15 points and a +4. Giannis fouled Robinson several times and in fact fouled out of the game with a minute left.

Robinson also heavily outplayed Brook Lopez — who had a quiet 34 minutes — 9 pts on 2-8 shooting with 6 rebounds.

So Robinson backed up his talk.

4. Randle Played Well; Missed His 3’s

The last time that Julius Randle played the Greek Freak, he did not fare well. Tonite Randle was much better. He powered to the basket regularly, and scored 18 points on 8-24 shooting (1-8 from 3) with 8 rebounds and 5 assists.

The Knicks were coming off a back-to-back with a win over Detroit on Randle’s birthday where he shot well from 3. The boxscore says the Knicks would’ve won if Randle had hit a couple more 3’s in this game.

5. Toppin Hit His 3’s

Obi Toppin played great again — in only 14 minutes which drew more ire from Knicks Twitter. Obi went 2-5 from 3 — the only shots he took — which drew more ire: fans and analysts alike wondered why Obi wasn’t set up for more drives and dunks.

“The Knicks have got to start utilizing Mitchell Robinson and Obi, along with Jericho Sims when they’re on the floor in some high pick and rolls,” opined NBA analyst Ross Kreines. “Mitchell was open a number of times after setting a screen and slipping and so was Obi right there. Utilize their athleticism and length.”

Jericho Sims didn’t play again — Isaiah Hartenstein getting all the minutes at reserve center — and that drew more ire from Knicks Twitter. Hartenstein played well — playing an aggressive brand of ball — grabbing 5 rebounds and going after loose balls.

6. Knicks Shot Poorly from 3

The Knicks shot only 6-30 from 3 (20.0 percent) vs Milwaukee’s 10-35 (28.6 percent). Besides Randle’s 1-8, Jalen Brunson was 0-4 from 3, and Immanuel Quickley 0-5.

Quentin Grimes started and played 34 minutes at guard — he played well; was active off the ball, good defense, 5 rebounds — but only shot 1-4 from 3 for 7 pts. Grimes is stealing time however from Cam Reddish — who played well in 14 minutes — and that drew more ire from Knicks Twitter.

Immanuel Quickley played well other than his poor 3-pt shooting — good defense and rebounding — 6 rebounds in 18 minutes including a big one in the 4th quarter. The Knicks could’ve used a couple of Quickley 3’s.

The Boxscore


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