The long national nightmare is over!
After roughly 36 hours of confusion and anguish, all is right with the world again. Bucks coach Jason Kidd told reporters this morning at shootaround that Giannis Antetokounmpo will start against the Knicks in New York tonight. But not before one one little joke, via Charles Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
just KIDDing pic.twitter.com/JetqYXpSUj— Eric Buenning (@ericbuenning) April 10, 2015
Jason should open for Kevin Hart.
Anyways, now that this little...whatever is behind everyone, the Bucks can return their focus on securing a playoff berth. The simplest way the Bucks can begin that securing process is to win their games, so a date tonight with the league-worst, Carmelo-less Knicks comes at the perfect time. Should the Bucks win, a loss by either Brooklyn, Boston, or Indiana would clinch a playoff berth. So...go Washington, Cleveland, or Detroit, right?
New York is in a similar to spot to where Milwaukee was last season. Four losses away from matching the Bucks 2013-2014 record of 15-67, Knicks fans are eagerly looking forward to the draft and summer ahead. If you don't believe me, please view the following tweet that was fanshot'ed over at the Knicks SB Nation blog Posting and Toasting, titled "[squealing, flapping arms wildly]"
Towns on the Knicks: "That would be cool."— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) April 9, 2015
In addition to prepping for the draft, Knicks President Phil Jackson told season ticket holders a week ago that he hoped to land "two or so starters" in the summer, according to Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal. So it's pretty clear where their sights are set.
As for the team on the court, well...yeah, they're bad. They had lost nine in a row -- their third-longest losing streak this season -- before beating Philly on April 5th. They got "back on track" against the Pacers and fans are hoping for a strong finish to cement their place in the lottery. It's been a brutal season for first-year coach Derek Fisher and company, but it should be one that they can put behind them quickly and build from...maybe.
The Knicks' injury list is a bit lengthy. Cleanthony Early (ankle) is questionable, while Carmelo Anthony (knee), Jose Calderon (achilles), Alexey Shved (incomplete rib fracture), and Travis Wear (back) are all out. On Milwaukee's end, it's just the usual. Jabari Parker (knee) and Damien Inglis (ankle) are out.
The eye test is a serviceable form of measurement to tell that the Knicks are bad, and the stats back it up. They have the fourth-worst eFG% with the fourth-highest opponent eFG%. They have the third-worst FTA rate and give up the third-highest. To cap it all off, they have the fourth-highest opponent OREB%. These stats paired with all those injuries is the recipe for "success." It shouldn't be a shocker that the Knicks are where they are, and most of the fans wouldn't have it any other way.
It will be interesting to see MCW go up against a pair of smaller, quicker guards in Shane Larkin and Langston Galloway. Though MCW is better than both, I'm curious to see if this is one of those nights where the post-ups are a featured part of the offense. Additionally, you could consider this a nice trial period against the quick guards before MCW will square off against either Kyle Lowry or Derrick Rose in the playoffs.
On top of that matchup, I also took to twitter to see what they thought would be a good thing to watch. Here were some of the responses.
@ericbuenning The fans vs. the $12.50 beers.— Kyle Doubrava (@KyleDoubrava) April 10, 2015
@ericbuenning Kidd vs. Giannis— Dan Sinclair (@dan_sinclair) April 10, 2015
@ericbuenning Fans v. Staying Awake— Scoops Maroun (@ejmaroun) April 10, 2015
@ericbuenning NY fans watching the Knicks or Harlem Globetrotter highlights.— Camille H. (@CamilleMonae) April 10, 2015
@ericbuenning Kidd v Jackson in a game of horse for the W— Jacob A (@Jacob_Abdul) April 10, 2015