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Investigating the emerging rivalry between the Knicks and Bucks

It’s all fun and games until Kristaps Porzingis returns

NBA: New York Knicks at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

There has been drama surrounding recent matchups between the New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks, something the Bucks have made sure of by calling out the Knicks via social media and attempting to crown Giannis Antetokounmpo as the “king of New York,” and while the theater of it all has been entertaining, the whole thing is just a bit confusing.

The Bucks, 24-10, are very good. The Knicks, 9-27, are not. And yet, the drama meter is reading at a high level, even though the two teams finished their season series last night and thus won’t play again until the 2019-20 campaign. The Knicks won only one of four games against the Bucks this year, a 136-134 overtime thriller back on the first day of December. Last night, the Bucks mostly cruised to a 112-96 victory.

Despite the extreme disparity between the two teams this season, there were scuffles to be had last evening, most glaringly with about 10 minutes left, when Enes Kanter and Antetokounmpo got into it after Kanter successfully stopped one of Antetokounmpo’s wild drives to the basket, in part thanks to his elbow accidentally connecting with the Greek Freak’s face.

The two got in each other’s grills as they came up the floor, and while chances of an actual fight breaking out were slim, Bucks assistant coach and former NBA player Darvin Ham sprinted onto the court to whisk Giannis away and ensure the guy he helps coach would not wind up being penalized due to fisticuffs. Oh wait, he actually grabbed Kanter, not Antetokounmpo. Maybe he was trying to pretend he was Jeff Van Gundy heroically clinging onto the leg of Alonzo Mourning, or maybe he was just scared of his own player so he decided to go with taking Kanter out of the fray. That’s not for us to decide. We can only speculate.

Porzingis did not take kindly to Ham going ham on another team’s man.

Kristaps Porzingis’ Instagram story

Anyway, last night’s fireworks were just the latest in an odd series of recent occurrences pitting the Bucks and Knicks as rivals. The Bucks are only a week or so removed from publishing and then promptly removing a story on their official team website in which the Knicks were pummeled like the punching bag Rocky Balboa uses to train. The link to that story, entitled “Seven Knicks And Their Roles In Giannis Becoming The King Of New York,” now goes nowhere fast.

Screenshot of Milwaukee Bucks website

The Bucks backed down from that story, but they haven’t backed down from hailing Giannis as the king of New York, which, well yeah, he’s been pretty good against the Knicks. But so are a lot of superstars. That’s why they’re superstars, because they are good against opponents.

If Antetokounmpo really wants to be king of New York, he could always come join Porzingis — you remember, the guy who dunked over Giannis on the very same play he unfortunately tore his ACL last season. The two could take on the rest of the league together and be co-kings. We’d happily oblige the nickname.

That’s unlikely, however, as Antetokounmpo is locked up by the Bucks for at least another two seasons. A more plausible scenario is that the rivalry between the Knicks and Bucks only grows once Porzingis comes back with revenge on his mind. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until next season to see how that plays out.

For now, let’s sit back and enjoy the highlights from a January 2017 game that featured both superstars at their superstariest. And hey, wouldn’t you know, the Knicks won!