Bucks Reign with 3’s. Knicks Eliminated from In-Season Tourney Milwaukee 146 NY 122

The Milwaukee Bucks shot an unreal 23-38 from 3 — over 60 % shooting — to run away from the Knicks late, 146-122 on a Tuesday night in Milwaukee, eliminating NY from the in-season tourney.

The game was tied just before the half, when Damian Lillard hit a 3 just before the buzzer. And then in the 2nd half, Milwaukee kept shooting lights-out from 3, gaining a big lead on the Knicks. NY pulled to within 9 early in the 4th, but Milwaukee kept hitting 3’s to blow the Knicks out late, before a National TV audience — the only NBA game being played at the time. Afterwards the TNT analyst crew of Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley, and Shaquille O’Neal ripped them some more.

“They’re a terrific offensive team,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “We gave them confidence early. And then the start of the 3rd was a big problem for us. We had a couple of turnovers that hurt us. Then there were a couple of possessions in which we had the initial stop, but gave up the second shot, and then the kick out and the 3. And they can go on runs real fast on you. Once they got the cushion it was hard to get anything going defensively. It’s hard to win on the road against a team like that.”

NY falls to 12-8. Milwaukee improves to 15-6 and advances to the next game of the in-season tourney, against Indiana which beat Boston.

1. Randle On FIRE vs Greek Freak Great Too

The Knicks had no trouble scoring in the 1st half. They had good ball movement and Milwaukee’s defense was not especially tough. NY was able to score almost at will.

Julius Randle was having his way inside and outside. He hit his first 8 shots. Milwaukee’s defense keyed up on him more in the 2nd half but he still took it the rim with fire, finishing with 41 points on 14-19 shooting (2-2 from 3, 11-12 in free throws), with 6 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was not undone — he did the same kind of damage: 35 points on 15-22 shooting (1-1 from 3, 4-9 in free throws), 8 rebounds, 10 assists, and 2 steals.

2. Milwaukee Goes on 18-6 Run at Start of 3rd

Milwaukee came out of the gate in the 2nd half and turned the game with an 18-6 run to take a 15-point lead.

“Just coming out that first 5 minutes was crucial,” said rookie Milwaukee coach Adrian Griffin. “They’re a very good team. At halftime one of the emphasis was just defending without fouling, moving out feet, protecting the 3-point line, let Brook be Brook. We did that at the start of the half and we didn’t look back after that.”

3. Brook Being Brook — A Problem Inside for NY

Brook being Brook was a problem for NY. Brook Lopez was a unsung hero of this game for Milwaukee — as he was in a meeting between the Knicks and Bucks earlier this season.

He dominated inside defensively — blocking shots, and grabbing rebounds that normally Mitchell Robinson gets. Lopez scored inside and hit 3’s. He passed. He did his part to open up the offense. He remains one of the unsung best centers in the NBA.

Lopez had 9 points on 4-8 shooting (including 1-4 from 3), 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks.

Mitchell Robinson had a rough night playing against him — 4 rebounds — only 1 offensive rebound — in 27 minutes — for 2 points, although Robinson did pick up 2 steals.

Isaiah Hartenstein seemed to be a better matchup against Lopez. Hartenstein had 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks in 18 minutes.

4. Milwaukee Hit 3 After 3

Milwaukee hit 3 after 3 after 3 in the first half. If they were missing some 3’s, NY would have been up 10.

And then in the 2nd half, they hit 3 after 3 after 3 after 3 — it was unreal.

From the bench:

Overall Milwaukee was 23-38 from 3 — 60 percent.

5. NY Knicks Didn’t Hit 3’s.

Meanwhile the Knicks struggled from 3.

  • RJ Barrett had a strong offensive start for NY as well as Randle — and finished with 23 points on 7-18 shooting, but was only 1-4 from 3.

Overall NY was 7-23 from 3 — 30 percent.

6. NY Pulled to Within 9 Early in 4th

The Knicks managed to pull to within 9 points with a run early in the 4th — and were down 12 with 8 minutes left.

But Malik Beasley hit yet another 3, Greek Freak made a 2, and Cameron Payne hit another 3 and it was ballgame — Milwaukee up 125-105 with 6:42 left.

“We got to get our defense back together,” said Thibs afterwards. “Got to bounce back. The games keep coming. We were slow reacting tonite. Obviously when you have a guy like Giannis and Lillard, it requires you to do more than one thing. Middleton is playing really well for them also, and Lopez complements those guys great. You have to be able to load up to them but you also have to fire out to cover the line. And if you’re slow to get there, you’re going to give up 3’s. Can’t do that. They’ve surrounded them with good shooting. Then the long rebounds; being slow to that — that led to more problems. You got to load up to the ball, but you have to fire out to the shooters.”

“We didn’t play well tonite,” added Thibs. “The challenge is go home, don’t change how you look at each game, every game reveals things to you, study the film, get in the gym, work and prepare yourself for Boston.

We’re disappointed but we have to make sure we turn that into determination for the next game.”

The Boxscore


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