It appeared to be a blowout on Wednesday night as the Milwaukee Bucks were able to build a 20+ point advantage on the road against the New York Knicks. However, some sloppy, timid basketball let the home team back in the game and almost cost them the W. At the end of the day, the Bucks survived, 112-100 thanks to some clutch shooting down the stretch.
What We Learned
Giannis Antetokounmpo struggled and never got into a rhythm...yet the Bucks were still able to take care of the Knicks. It was a complete team effort on Wednesday night and everybody who checked into the game contributed in multiple facets.
New York made it a focal point to wall-off Giannis from getting any angle to attack the basket which sounds smart, but in reality, it back-fired rather quickly. That strategy would have worked three seasons ago, but not with Antetokounmpo’s improved passing and the plethora of shooters the Bucks have on the floor at all times. While the stat line won’t reflect it, it was a rather easy game for GA in terms of facilitating...all he had to do was take a few dribbles and multiple defenders swarmed him leaving at least two guys open on the perimeter. Now, the shot selection was not the greatest and he made just 5-of-15 shots (two made threes), but more than made up for it in different ways. It was still a near triple-double for him, ending with 15 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists, one steal, and two blocked shots.
Pat Connaughton would not let the Bucks lose. The maturation of his game over the last year has been fun to watch as he has grown immensely both offensively, and defensively. He hit a few threes spanning the first three quarters, but he saved his best for last. With the Knicks mounting a furious comeback led by their bench, Connaughton made a handful of clutch three-pointers. Every bucket NYK made was answered by Connaughton it seemed. In all, he made a career-high seven threes (23 points) in 31 minutes off the bench. Milwaukee needed someone to step up, and he did just that.
It was great to see Jrue Holiday get in a rhythm offensively. After struggling on Tuesday night against the 76ers, Holiday looked much better in New York. He scored 18 points while sinking 4-of-6 attempts from deep. The Bucks are just different when he is hitting shots and watching him lull the defense to sleep in transition before hitting a pull-up three is a joy to watch. He led the Bucks with 16 field goal attempts which seems on the lower end, but with how they were spreading the ball around, the math adds up (five players attempted 10+ shots). He also finished with six assists compared to only one turnover.
Bobby Portis revenge game? Bobby Portis revenge game. He was completely on fire in the second quarter in helping MKE extend their lead before halftime. I mean, he was hitting everything, layups, floaters, three-pointers. Does Portis have it all? Sure seemed like it last night. He started and played 24 minutes while dropping 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting. The first few games back from injury was a struggle for Bobby, but he has picked up some much-needed momentum the last few games.
- Two-consecutive productive games for our pal Semi Ojeleye! He played 29 minutes and scored nine points. He made two three-pointers and just as he did against the 76ers, was hustling on the offensive glass against NYK. All three of his rebounds were OREB.
- The Bucks outrebounded the Knicks 50-38 which is HUGE when you factor in how they killed the Bucks on the glass and in the paint the first time they played each other.
- Grayson Allen sank five three-pointers en route to 15 points in 28 minutes. He did suffer a brief injury scare in the first half when Taj Gibson contested his shot and ended up jamming Allen’s wrist. He shook it off, however. Could have been much worse.
- Thanasis Antetokounmpo...yikes is all I have to say about his “performance.”
- Jordan Nwora’s lack of consistency is no surprise, but he committed some bonehead turnovers in the fourth that gave the Knicks all the momentum. Every game is a learning experience, but some of these mistakes are avoidable.
- New York takes A LOT of low-percentage shots...putting it lightly.