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Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks Preview: Bing Bonged

The upstart Knicks come to Cream City

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NBA: New York Knicks at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been standard practice this season to check the injury report before committing fully to a Milwaukee Bucks game, and we’ll celebrate that tradition once more as they welcome the New York Knicks to town for a nationally televised Friday night tilt.

Where We’re At

The Milwaukee MASH Unit’s have been soldiering on without most of their starters. After dropping three straight, they got to enjoy a get-well 117-89 contest against the Detroit Pistons that featured (all together now) another near triple-double from Giannis Antetokounmpo. He’s been the lone member of Milwaukee’s core to avoid missing any games this year, and he’s been asked to drag a lot of deeper bench crews to competency. With 28 points, eight boards and nine assists in Little Caesar’s Arena, he was hot n’ ready to demolish a Detroit team like a box of Crazy Sticks. Now, he’ll have to do it against stiffer competition in the Knicks. He’ll need some more helpful shooting from his teammates too, who finally knocked down some open looks against the Pistons. Pat Connaughton added 16 to get off his slump, and Jordan Nwora/Bobby Portis tallied 28 combined, albeit on iffy efficiency. Giannis will need his bit players to step up once again, but thankfully, he should have some help with Jrue Holiday listed as probable.

Donte DiVincenzo, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez remain out for Milwaukee.

As for The Big Apple’s Bing Bong crew, they sit at 5-3 after Wednesday night’s loss against the Indiana Pacers. The 111-98 defeat came primarily at the hands of Myles Turner and Caris LaVert, while RJ Barrett led the Knicks with 23 points.

The infusion of Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker has given them some additional ball handling juice to alleviate the pressure from Julius Randle. In addition, RJ Barrett has come into his own averaging 18 points on 58% eFG%, easily the most efficient scoring of his young career. The bulky straw that stirs the drink is still Randle though, and it’ll be up to Milwaukee’s softened interior defenders to prevent him from punishing them at the rim. The Knicks have thrived with elite defense, like last season, coming in with the third best mark. Additionally, they trudge at the slowest pace in the league, so it’ll be curious to see whether their lethargic approach or the Bucks blitzing speed win out.

Player to Watch

RJ Barrett — as discussed above, the young Knick has evolved his game this season, and I’m curious how Milwaukee’s perimeter defenders will hold up against him. Likewise, he has enough length to bother Milwaukee’s guards, so his two-way impact is worth monitoring against a shorthanded Bucks squad.


Poll

Game 9. Against New York, the Bucks will…

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Win big (by 10 or more points)
    (37 votes)
  • 50%
    Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (103 votes)
  • 24%
    Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (50 votes)
  • 6%
    Lose big (by 10 or more points)
    (14 votes)
204 votes total Vote Now

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