Bucks Assert Dominance Over Knicks Again. Milwaukee 130 NY 111

The Milwaukee Bucks asserted their dominance over the Knicks again — beating them good at Madison Square Garden on a Saturday afternoon, 130-111.

It was the 3rd time Milwaukee beat the Knicks this year due to the in-season tournament, and they play again in 2 days — a noon game at Madison Square Garden on Christmas Day.

Milwaukee is bigger than the Knicks and they hit their 3 in this game — the Knicks didn’t, missing wide-open 3’s all night. RJ Barrett especially, stunk up the joint from 3 and missed on chippies inside too. His final line of 5-17 for 13 pts looked better than it was as he hit some shots late; he started 1-10. Immanuel Quickley did not provide punch off the bench; 7 pts.

Jalen Brunson carried the Knicks on his back all night. Barrett finally woke up to hit a 3 and a floater early in the 4th to pull NY within 11, but then he missed a couple of floaters and in a minute Milwaukee was up 18 again.

“They got a lot of weapons, so you gotta fly around,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “There were times when we did it, and times we didn’t do it as well as we should have. But every aspect of the game we were a step behind: defensive transition; usually we’re a very good rebounding team we didn’t rebound the ball; we didn’t score in transition ourselves. Just a low-energy type game. So we have to bounce back.”

You need some easy baskets; they usually get you going a little bit.

“We didn’t move without the ball[ we didn’t run the floor the way we normally do. We need those hustle points. when you play like that it creates rhythm for each other. They’re big; they have great size in there; you have to trust the pass; we also missed some wide-open shots. You got to make your open shots.”

NY falls to 16-12; Milwaukee improves to 22-7.

1. Milwaukee Bigger than Knicks

With Mitchell Robinson out for the year, Isaiah Hartenstein has stepped into the starter role — which moves Jericho Sims into the backup center role but he is out with a sprained ankle. So 6’9″ Taj Gibson is the backup center.

And Milwaukee is big — featuring 7′ Brooke Lopez at center, 6’11 Giannis Antetokounmpo, 6’7 Khris Middleton at small forward, and 6’10” Bobby Portis first man off the bench.

On top of it, Isaiah Hartenstein picked up 2 quick fouls in the first 2 minutes of the game, which put the Knicks at a defensive disadvantage — the middle was wide open. Milwaukee raced out to a 10-point lead as Bobby Portis started to ravage inside.

“I thought we got behind when Isaiah got in foul trouble from the start; it snowballed from there,” said coach Thibs afterwards.

2. Bucks Hit their 3’s; Knicks Missed their 3’s

And Milwaukee utilized that inside advantage to an outside advantage — playing in rhythm and hitting their 3. Khris Middleton was hitting 3’s; Malik Beasley was hitting 3’s; and then in the 2nd quarter Cameron Payne hit a 3, and then was fouled shooting a 3 next time down and hit 2 of 3 free throws. Milwaukee was up 15, 55-40.

Meanwhile Barrett kept missing shots — he was 1-10 in the 1st half for 3 points; Quickley came in and missed shots too. Josh Hart was 1-6 (0-3 from 3) for 2 points and a -19 in 27 minutes. Donte DiVincenzo was the only other Knick guard besides Brunson to give NY something from outside — he was 4-7 (3-6 from 3) for 11 pts.

3. Brunson Kept the Knicks In It

But Jalen Brunson put the Knicks on his back and brought the Knicks back.

Damian Lillard hit a 3 to put Milwaukee up 16, at 60-44 — but Brunson answered with a couple of drives and pullups, and a jumper at the buzzer to pull NY to within 8 at the half.

ESPN analyst and former WNBA player Becky Hammonds stirred controversy the day before the game when she said the Knicks lacked a 1A star. Many took exception on Jalen Brunson’s behalf and he tore the Bucks up in the 1st half of this game with 21 points.

Brunson continued the assault in the 3rd quarter with 15 more points. His 3 with 11 seconds left in the quarter pulled NY to within 13.

4. Knicks Got Within 11 in 4th But Couldn’t Maintain Run

RJ Barrett FINALLY got cooking early in the 4th — hitting a 3 and then a pullup to pull NY within 11 at 103-92 with 9:48 left.

But next three times down Barrett missed a floater, Quickley missed a pullup, and Barrett missed a floater and meanwhile Middleton and Portis were scoring and Milwaukee went back up by 19 and ballgame.

Brunson didn’t score in the 4th — he finished with 36 points on 15-26 shooting (3-5 from 3).

5. Randle vs Giannis & Portis Matchup

Milwaukee had Bobby Portis defending Julius Randle for much of the night. The two BANGED inside — Randle had 26 points on 8-17 shooting and 8 rebounds, 1 assist.

Randle also took on Giannis Antetokounmpo, who scored 28 pts on 11-18 shooting.

6. Hartenstein vs Brook Matchup

Hartenstein ended up playing 33 minutes and grabbing 13 rebounds with 12 points on 4-5 shooting (and 4-4 in free throws). He outplayed Brooke Lopez who had 5 points on 1-7 shooting in 35 minutes.

The Boxscore


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