Another shaky game by the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t create much confidence, but at least they finished the evening with a win against the losing-inclined New York Knicks, 120-112. A first quarter that started with a bizarrely out of touch Eric Bledsoe push-up showing the Knicks no respect ended with the Bucks up a measly four points, 26-22. Milwaukee opened up a 16-point lead just minutes before the second ended, but the Knicks finished the period on an 11-0 run with Milwaukee leading just 60-55 at half. The third quarter was played largely to a standstill, although the Bucks carried a 91-89 lead into the fourth after Giannis blocked an Emmanuel Mudiay attempted dunk at the buzzer. Even with the starters playing egregiously late into this one, Milwaukee managed to win this one out after pulling ahead early in the final stanza.
A win is a win for the Bucks at this point, but tonight’s performance certainly wasn’t inspiring. They looked uninterested in putting the pathetic Knicks away for the first half, and thankfully Giannis took over in the fourth to finally put them over the edge. Still, this didn’t provide much confidence for a team currently in the 8th slot in the playoff standings.
A steady performance by Giannis that started off stilted ended up at a very respectable 28 points, ten rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks when it all finished up. The vast majority of his success came from flinging his body at the rim and the hapless Knicks making contact with his long arms, as he finished 14-18 from the line.
Meanwhile, Khris Middleton’s quiet game resulted in an ultra efficient performance with 30 points on just 11-16 shooting. Jabari Parker went for 12 points and five assists off the bench, while Tyler Zeller was solid in his return from injury, tallying 12 points while slurping up all of Thon’s minutes at backup center. Eric Bledsoe had just seven points and eight assists on six field goal attempts.
For New York, it was Enes Kanter (16 points, eight rebounds) and Tim Hardaway Jr.’s 26 points that at least kept them in the game for much of the first three quarters. Troy Williams out of Indiana, a player I admittedly didn’t even recognize before tonight, also added 18 for the Knicks off the pine.
Stat that Stood Out
30-39 from the free throw line - New York managed just 14 attempts from the free throw line tonight, choosing instead to hack Milwaukee to death and send them to the line 39 times. Providing unimpeded buckets isn’t a great recipe for success when Milwaukee also shoots 56.2% from the field for the night.