Lillard Spoils Brunson’s Magnificent Effort. Milwaukee 110 NY 105

The Knicks seemed to be the better team.

Despite Milwaukee having a giddy 20-39 shooting night from 3, out-doing the Knicks putrid 10-39 3-pt shooting by 10 (ten) 3 pointers — the NY Defense didn’t allow much else — while Jalen Brunson bulldozed the Bucks with 45 points — his 3 with 1:10 left giving the Knicks a 103-101 lead.

But Damian Lillard hit 2 huge shots in the final minute — a 3 and a drive-and-1 to the bucket — to undo all that and give Milwaukee the win.

On a Friday night in Milwaukee.

“Hard fought but we didn’t do enough at the end to get it done, so we have to come back with more determination,” said coach Tom Thibodeau. “I thought we created a lot of good open looks, but you can’t hesitate you have to let it go. The game tells you what to do. When you look at their defense what were they doing? They were collapsing – they have two 7 footers. When they collapse, you have to trust the pass. Trust the pass.”

“The defense was pretty good,” added Thibodeau. “We didn’t cover the line as well as we could have or should have. But I thought we did a good job for the most part. They shot a low percentage. The rebounding was terrific. They have Giannis and they have Lillard. There’s two guys that are going to command 2 on the ball. So you’re putting 2 on the ball but you also have to get out and you have to challenge shots. So you have to do more than one thing and that takes a big commitment. For the most part I was pleased, defensively. And then whatever we have to do to find a win, that’s what we have to do.”

The Knicks were without RJ Barrett. Milwaukee was at full strength.

NY falls to 2-4. Milwaukee improves to 3-2.

This was the first game of the In Season Tournament — but nobody seems to know what that means. Many Knick fans tweeted that all night — that they had no clue what it meant.

1. Milwaukee Kills NY with 3’s in 2nd Quarter

Milwaukee jumped out to an 11-2 lead out of the gate but the Knicks quickly came back to take a 22-16 lead late in the 1st quarter. NY led 25-21 after the 1st quarter.

But in the 2nd quarter, Milwaukee caught fire from 3 — outscoring the Knicks 35-21 in the period to take a 56-46 lead at the half. As the Knicks defense was geared to defending Giannis and Lillard, other Bucks got free for 3’s.

Jae Crowder and MarJon Beauchamp kept hitting 3’s, then Dame Lillard hit one, and late in the quarter Brook Lopez hit back-to-back killer 3’s.

The Knicks meanwhile were misfiring from 3 — Julius Randle would finish 1-9 from 3, Josh Hart was 0-4, and even Jalen Brunson was 2-8 from 3 for the game.

2. Knicks Were Down 6-7 Points Throughout 2nd Half

Khris Middleton hit a 3 to start the 3rd quarter and NY was down by 13 points. But from there on the Knicks fought back hard and kept making runs — only to be pushed back by another Milwaukee 3. Every time you looked at the score the Knicks were down 6 or 7 points.

With the Knicks 3’s not falling, Jalen Brunson put the Knicks on his back and started to penetrate for scores. He was aided by Quentin Grimes who had his best game of the season — 17 pts on 6-11 shooting (5-10 from 3).

Near the end of the 3rd quarter the 2nd team came in, and Immanuel Quickley picked up the slack with Brunson resting. Quick had 14 points on 5-10 shooting (1-3 from 3).

3. Randle & Robinson Did a JOB on Greek Freak

Julius Randle remained out of sorts on offense, but did a GREAT job on DEFENSE on Giannis Antetokounmpo, as did Mitchell Robinson when he switched off to guard him. Randle had 16 points (on 5-20 shooting, 1-9 from 3, 5-9 in free throws) but had 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals — and then most notably the defense on Antetokounmpo.

Greek Freak had 7 (Seven) turnovers despite 22 points on 6-10 shooting. Antetokounmpo also misfired from the free throw line — going 7-13.

Mitchell Robinson had 0 points on 0-4 shooting but BEASTED Inside — 15 rebounds — he dominated the inside in terms of getting the ball for the Knicks on the defensive and offensive boards.

4. Knicks 2nd Team Also Played Tough D

On the 2nd team, Isiah Hartenstein and Josh Hart both played physical defensive games.

It was Hart’s best game of the season. It was a chippy game throughout the evening.

5. The Final Run

You looked at the score and NY was down by 6 early in the 4th when Greek Freak hit a 3 to put Milwaukee up by 9. So the Knicks simply reared back and made another run — Quickly with free throws and a floater to pull NY back to within 5.

And then down the stretch it was Brunson, Brunson, Brunson — with some Randle drives and free throws, and a 3 from QGrimes.

And then more Brunson — until he finally hit the 3 with 1:10 left to give NY that lead, 103-101.

But then Lillard — hitting the big 3. Then next time down sneaking past QGrimes for a drive and 1. Ballgame.

Lillard finished with 30 points.

But damn if the Knicks didn’t look like the better team. The only consolation on this night.

The Boxscore


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