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Milwaukee vs. New York: Short-Handed Bucks Come up Short, 102-96

A miraculous victory just wasn’t in the cards

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

In one of the most unique games in a long time, the short-handed Bucks were unable to complete a miraculous effort, falling to the New York Knicks by a score of 102-96.

With a depleted lineup, the Bucks saw themselves go down right off the bat (which we all sort of expected). Milwaukee would try and prevent a double-digit lead from forming, and for the most part, did. After the end of one, the Bucks trailed New York by seven, 32-25.

The young Bucks would stay in this one throughout the second, only trailing by single digits throughout the quarter. The play of Jordan Nwora and Thanasis Antetokounmpo really kept them in it. Come halftime, Milwaukee found themselves down by only three, 57-54.

Milwaukee would continue to not fade, but rather capture the lead midway through the third quarter. New York would regain the lead soon after, but not by much. They hoisted an 81-77 advantage going into the final quarter of regulation.

New York would start to pour in threes right as the fourth began, making it difficult for Milwaukee to match their offensive output. But despite all the chances the Knicks had to put this one away, the Bucks still lingered around. The Bucks would tie things late down the stretch, but an Alec Burks 3-pointer would prove to be the dagger that would be too much for them to handle. The Knicks would escape with a 102-96 victory.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo was the leading scorer for Milwaukee, finishing with 23 points on the evening. Jordan Nwora had a respectable outing as well, registering 21 points.

For the Knicks, Alec Burks and RJ Barrett had 21 points apiece.

What Did We Learn?

This game really felt like a throwback to the 2004 or so season. That was when the Bucks were bad, but the games always featured young players. You always came in with the expectation that they were going to lose, but sometimes it was exciting because the action the youth would receive. That was the case last night. Once the starting lineup was announced, you knew the chances of the Bucks winning weren’t that strong. However, it was still an exciting game. However, my Brew Hoop colleague Kyle hit the nail right on the head:

Three Observations

The effort from the squad was fantastic.

Sure, the Bucks didn’t win. But it’s clear that the Bucks weren’t expected to win this one. However, it was quite entertaining to see the Bucks Twitter All-Stars take the floor. It was clear that they were giving it all, and that was the first thing that Bud mentioned in his postgame presser — how everybody’s effort was off the charts. You know that despite this game being a unique circumstance, this will bode well for all the youth that captured some minutes.

Thanasis’ energy is palpable.

Everytime Thanasis is brought up, the energy is the first thing that’s discussed, and rightfully so. No matter the situation, he’s always racing around the floor, diving for loose balls, pumping up the squad, etc. Last night, a step-back 28 footer was included in the repertoire. Coach Bud joked that that wasn’t included in the playbook, but it was still a joy to see what Thanasis did on the evening. He’d be a large reason as to why the Bucks kept this one so close with his 23 points.

This was a big game for Jordan Nwora.

The rookie out of Louisville made the most of his 36 minutes, patching together a 21 point performance. The most outstanding aspect of his night was his shooting, where he connected on 4-of-8 3-pointers. When asked about what’s the most important next step in Nwora finding his way into the rotation down the line, Budenholzer mentioned the defense and how this was such a big opportunity for him to get so much action. Nwora mentioned how confidence is the biggest thing for him in these opportunities. He also mentioned how he views this as his first year of college again and that he hopes to breakout next year. He also continues to get advice from Jrue, Giannis, and Khris. He says that they give him a lot of confidence. I don’t anticipate we’ll see much of Nwora in the upcoming road trip, but it was still nice to see him make a positive impact last night.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • I mentioned Thanasis’ energy, and early in the second quarter, he attempted a dunk from Wauwatosa. He wasn’t able to cram it home, but nonetheless, the effort was still quite incredible.
  • Sam Merrill had an on-and-off night. At times, he showed flashes, but ultimately, he’d finish with a -19 RPM. Ball handling remains an area of growth for him as well.
  • It was cool to see Giannis on the bench “coaching.” In between timeouts, I’d watch him discuss the game with the referee, trying to make a point with what he saw from his seat. Just a great teammate.
  • This is gut-wrenching to see. The injury occurred in the first quarter:
  • One positive thing about this homestand ending is that the urge for late-night Taco Bell will (hopefully) go away for me. It’s nearly 10 pm and my stomach is demanding a quesalupa...