The Milwaukee Bucks knocked off the New York Knicks, 103-89, for their second victory in a week over the Manhattan-based club. The 30th victory of the season pushed the Bucks to seven games over .500. Having now won seven of their last eight games, the Bucks are just a half game back of the Cleveland Cavaliers for first place in the Central Division and the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
In the first game of the post-Rashad Vaughn era, the pre-game dancing got off to a sluggish start.
Sterling Brown didn't jump into the middle of the Bucks' post intros dance circle. Kinda had to be guided in. Turned kinda into a mosh pit from there. That's all I could see before the lights went out for Knicks intros.— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) February 7, 2018
The sluggishness carried over as the game itself opened up with the two teams combining for ten turnovers in the first 12 minutes. Kristaps Porzingis exited the game early in the second quarter with a left knee injury and the Bucks took advantage of his absence. A 20-7 run to close the first half catapulted Milwaukee to a four point halftime lead and they never looked backed, cruising in the second half to close out their third straight victory.
Giannis Antetokounmpo finished the night with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and +11 net rating. Giannis got off to a slow start as Porzingis swallowed him up whenever he attacked the rim. As a result, Antetokounmpo went into the halftime break making just five of his 14 shot attempts. His second half performance was a little better as he converted on five of his nine field goal attempts, including this stop-what-you’re-doing-and-watch-this transition slam.
John Henson sat out tonight’s contest with a hamstring injury and Thon Maker got the start and finished with seven points and just three rebounds in Hook’s stead. Newcomer, Tyler Zeller, pitched in at the center spot with two illegal screens in four minutes. In 20 minutes of game time, Jabari Parker scored ten points on 4/9 shooting and threw down his first transition dunk of the season early in the first quarter. Eric Bledsoe carried his fourth quarter performance against the Brooklyn Nets across the East River and turned it into a 23 point, +31(!) net rating night. The pride of Birmingham, Alabama lit it up from the field, making 63.6 percent of his shots.
Porzingis dominated the Bucks through the first 16 minutes of the game, but landed awkwardly after a thunderous dunk over Giannis and immediately grabbed for his left knee. He exited the game after 11 minutes of court time where the All-Star scored ten points and recorded three blocks. Enes Kanter had a great game last Friday against the Bucks and nearly replicated that prformance, scoring 19 points and scooping up 16 rebounds.
Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis is undergoing an MRI on his left knee tonight, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 7, 2018
Stat That Stood Out
+10 - the Bucks scored 28 points off of 17 Knick turnovers. Conversely, New York only managed to score 18 points off of 14 Milwaukee turnovers. That +10 margin helped fuel Milwaukee’s run to close out the first half and contributed to the Bucks pulling away from the Knicks in the third quarter. The Bucks only registered 12 points from the fast break, but I don’t think anyone will forget the seismic activity that Giannis caused on his fast break dunk after a New York turnover.