On Christmas morning, the Milwaukee Bucks kicked off the holiday slate against the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden. The Knicks cruised to a 129-122 victory.
Both teams came out swinging in this one, with every possession seeming to result in a lead change. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton kicked off the scoring, and Brook Lopez knocked down an early 3-pointer. Even so, Knicks guards Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett were connecting from all over the court. The duo combined for 29 points in the first quarter, and the Knicks held a 36-29 advantage after one.
Immediate points from Julius Randle and Immanuel Quickley extended the Knicks’ lead to 13, but the Bucks were able to recover and stop the bleeding. Damian Lillard commanded a brief Milwaukee scoring run, but Brunson and Randle knocked down threes on back-to-back possessions to take a 62-51 lead into the half.
Giannis and Dame found the net in the third quarter, but the Knicks countered to keep a safe distance on the scoreboard. A 3-pointer from Pat Connaughton brought Milwaukee within four, but an and-one floater from Brunson kept the Bucks from inching closer to the lead. The Knicks took a 97-86 lead into the final stanza.
The Bucks continued to take swings in the fourth, but Quickley, Randle, and Brunson contributed to a strong offensive quarter to hold the lead. The Knicks held on for a 129-122 victory.
Stat That Stood Out
The Bucks’ bench had another quiet outing, combining for 20 total points. Bobby Portis scored a semi-efficient 12, but nobody else in the second unit scored more than three points. On the contrary, the Knicks’ bench added 32 points, with Quickley and Josh Hart contributing early and often.