Ho, ho, holy crap was that an atrocious first half, but Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks decimated the New York Knicks in the second half to snag a win, 109-95. After a roaring start, Milwaukee allowed the Knicks back into it with lengthy scoring drought, ending the quarter trailing 22-24. A horrific shooting performance for both teams (37% for MIL; 32% for NYK) led to another lump of coal-quality quarter, but Milwaukee still maintained a 48-46 advantage heading into half. Thankfully, the Bucks spared us from the eye-gouging spectacle on this merry day in the third, taking a commanding 84-68 lead into the fourth. That spread continued throughout the final period, sending Milwaukee home with a quality win to greet their families with.
A December regular season game doesn’t bear a huge amount of weight, but I think there’s something to be said for coming out on THE most marketed NBA gameday of the year and showing out. It’s been 41 years since Milwaukee had the privilege of playing on Christmas, and hopefully it won’t be their last with Giannis in tow. The fact this win came with Milwaukee shooting just 18.8% from deep is just the frosting atop the cookie.
Giannis Antetokounmpo strapped on his earned jersey and looked like every bit the star he’s become this Christmas day, going for 30 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, three steals and two blocks. It felt special, not really because of the magic of MSG, but the historic nature of Giannis bringing this Bucks team to the point they’re finally worthy of a game on the NBA’s marquee day. He is truly the gift that keeps on giving.
Once more, Khris Middleton struggled from the field, going just 2-12 en route to only 6 points. With Eric Bledsoe looking forward to Christmas dinner too (a quiet 11 points), Malcolm Brogdon and Brook Lopez picked up the slack with 17 and 20 points respectively. Apparently this odd game-worn apparel was prescient too, since Thon flashed a surprisingly wide toolbox today with 12 points.
All that matters is that New York didn’t have another anomalous shooting day, hitting a wretched 35.8% of their shots. Again, Kevin Knox looked like a promising rookie though with 21 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. got 14, albeit on 4-18 from the field. Oh, and Mario Hezonja got a DNP-CD. Most likely for his own safety.
Stat that Stood Out
Amazingly, Milwaukee went through another one of its cold spells today - trickling over from the Miami warmth. After missing 17 straight 3-pointers, Sterling Brown managed to nail a triple from the corner. The fact they could face such a drought, and still come out with a victory, is encouraging to say the least. They finished at just 6-32 from deep. For a bonus STSO, check out their gaudy (for them) points from the midrange: 14. Giannis nailed several jumpers from their dead zone today while Thon hit some odd rolling flip shots too.