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Game Preview: Knicks at Bucks- 10/22/18

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Oh great, one of the best players in the league.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Milwaukee Bucks
The pulverizer.
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Gone are the frenzied defensive schemes that had Milwaukee scrambling and gambling. The Bucks now keep it tight, contain drivers, tag cutters, rotate cleanly and hold themselves individually accountable. Oh and they decided to put as much shooting around Giannis Antetokounmpo as the they can. Milwaukee has only played two games but early returns have them averaging 40 3-point attempts per. Even Antetokounmpo is pulling them, but so far he is 0-9. He might never become a lights out shooter but the willingness to take them needs to be accounted for now, and gives him a little extra berth by the hoop as he steps around and beyond defenders turning to face him. Watch the Pacers’ domino effect here

Projected Starters

New to the scene here is Brook Lopez, who will certainly pull Enes Kanter and co out to the deep end on defense. If you get sucked in to the Anteto-tornado, Lopez will happily line ‘em on up.

Key Matchup

What on earth does Lance Thomas do with Giannis? He can try to stunt him immediately after rebounds, then sprint back on defense to force more half court. Maybe guards can help out with that. From there he can lay off and dare him to shoot all the threes in the world. He can set an aggressive tone and use every available foul. He can funnel him toward help down the wings. But you have to wonder if the help will even help.

Even in that sideline out of bounds situations, Giannis’ gravitational pull is immense and indomitable. There’s no easy way out here. Slowing Giannis is your only way home and it’s suicide.

So maybe you have to try to kill him with kindness. Invite him fishing. Ask him questions about Greece. Oh, I heard the food is wonderful. My friend, you should come uptown later and have a chopped cheese.

Hey, if you really wanna get freaky, at half time we should go upstate and get some chicken riggies and garbage plates together. I’m sure you’ll pass but what do ya say, pal?

Yep. He declines and passes.

Key Reserves

New head coach Mike Budenholzer has kept Milwaukee to a tighter rotation so far. Even in a blowout against Indiana they really only went eight deep. Maybe 8½ if you double down on Tony Snell’s 17 minutes, but where were those going really? Snell is not exactly the spirited jewel of the rotation.

John Henson and Villanova rookie Donte Divincenzo may be the guys to look out for here. Henson’s vertical aspect ratio on the floor makes Antetkounmpo’s dashes to the rim even trickier for the cheating weak side defenders. Don’t be fooled by his early three point powers. Both of his makes were of the SHOOT IT SHOOT IT SHOOT IT buzzer beating variety.

On the wing, Don Diva has given the Bucks an extra pop of shooting and cutting to help them sneak some baskets when the defense relaxes for a moment. I can guarantee Allonzo Trier will want to test his fellow rookie’s mettle. So we’ll definitely see what he’s made of.

Prediction

The Tim Hardaway Jr. revenge game is fully engaged.

Not one to let much slide this season, Maestro Slim Tim has shown plenty of backbone and come out guns ablaze this season. His quicks might prove troublesome for the dry defensive stylings of Talcam Brogdon. He goes for a career high 44-points.

Knicks by -7.