The Bucks (21-19) made their presence felt from the beginning, jumping out to a 14-0 lead in the first six minutes of the game, highlighted by two dunks by Giannis Antetokounmpo (9 first quarter points). New York (5-36) went on a 9-0 run of their own to get on the board, but that's as close as the Knicks got the rest of the game, as Milwaukee took a 31-13 lead into the second. Once again the bench provided a spark for the Bucks, as O.J. Mayo hit a couple of threes in the first and registered a team-high 16 points at halftime on 6-of-8 shooting to propel the Bucks to a 56-37 edge at the half.
The barrage continued in the third when the Bucks expanded their lead to 26 behind Brandon Knight's perimeter shooting. Still, the Knicks went nuts to start the fourth, with their reserve unit going on a 20-5 run to cut the lead to eleven at 87-76. But after a pair of free throws from Zaza Pachulia, Giannis picked off a Langston Galloway pass and started at 4-on-2 break, finished off by Mayo's fourth three of the game to end the Knicks' threat. Mayo finished as the team leader 22 points, Brandon Knight added 20 points, six assists and five steals, and Giannis chimed in with 16, five rebounds and two steals. Pachulia chipped in with a solid 11 points and 14 boards.
The win may have come at a price for the Bucks, who lost Kendall Marshall to a knee injury in the second quarter. Marshall was cutting to the basket down the baseline when his right knee seemingly gave out. He was helped off the court and did not return with what the team called a sprain. Having lost one vital piece of the pie this year to a non-contact knee injury, let's hope for the best for a key weapon on the league's best bench.
The Knicks have lost sixteen straight, extending the worst skid in franchise history and keeping sports radio fodder alive in New York for the next few days. Carmelo Anthony returned with a game-high 25 points after missing the last six games with a left knee injury, while Amare Stoudemire also returned and apparently played. I cannot confirm.
It was a fun show for most of the night for the Bucks, who had an opportunity to impress and make some new fans in Europe. Who knows, maybe a few Giannis shirseys walked out of the O2 tonight, which was the larger point behind signing up for this game.
Back home Monday for the Raptors.
- The Bucks were 31-42 from the free throw line. The team averages 21 free throws a game this season.
- The Knicks turned the ball over 21 times.
- Ersan Ilyasova returned to the lineup following his near-comical injury string. He was... rusty (0/6 fg, 1/4 ft). Kenyon Martin played sparingly in the final game of his initial ten-day contract. Martin was sporting a massive protective pad on his chest after running into the Bulls' Jimmy Butler on Saturday.
- With no local broadcast for the game, Bucks fans got NBATV's feed which used the Knicks' MSG broadcast. If you listened closely, Knicks analyst and slightly-drunken grandfather Clyde Frazier dropped in a Magic Johnson comparison for Giannis.
- Jason Kidd is now 3-0 in his trips to London, winning with the Knicks as a player in 2012 and coach of the Nets last season.