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Bucks 120, Knicks 112: ‘That was a beautiful mess of sloppy basketball’

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Mo’ losses.

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

The New York Knicks lost to the Milwaukee Bucks Friday night, 120-112. It was their sixth loss in a row, their 13th in their last 14 games. That’s quite a lot.

Since these games are now only important when viewed through the prism of player development, let’s skip to the notes, shall we?

Notes:

Emmanuel Mudiay had himself quite a roller coaster ride of a game. The Knicks’ starting point guard missed all his shots in the first half, bringing his shot total over the past few games to an almost unfathomably wretched 3-27. Worse than that, he came back into the game in the second quarter and immediately turned the ball over three times in a row, leading the Bucks to stretch their lead to 16 before Jeff Hornacek benched his ass. The Knicks then went on a quick 11-0 run to close out the second half with Frank Ntilikina at point guard.

To his credit, Mudiay really shined in the second half. He suddenly found his jump shot, scoring 19 points in the final two quarters. (His jumper still looked wrong by my extremely amateur opinion—he shoots on his way down.) And his point guarding skills returned with his confidence, as he started once again finding teammates in positions to make plays.

What does this mean going forward? I have no idea. But it’d be nice to see a bit more of the useful Mudiay as we ride out the rest of the season.

Kyle O’Quinn turned in yet another superlative performance: 14 points, 2 rebounds, 3 blocks, a team-leading 6 assists. His decision-making has improved by leaps and bounds this season. O’Quinn was always capable of throwing the highlight-reel pass, but too often he held onto the ball, looking for the perfect dish. Now he gets the ball out lickety-spit. And the Knicks actually have some decent athletes to cut to the rim for KOQ’s dishes, dudes like Damyean Dotson and Troy Williams.

— Speaking of Williams, he was dynamite for the Knicks, particularly in the first half. He finished with 18 points on 7-14 shooting to go along with 5 rebounds. His ability to cut was crucial in getting many of those points. I like it!

Tim Hardaway Jr. had one of his best games in a while—though, if we’re being honest, he has pretty good in his last few games. Timmy rebounded from being dunked over by Giannis Antetokounmpo in their last matchup to lead the Knicks with 26 points on 10-20 shooting, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and a team-high plus-4 net rating. He even found his three-point shot in the second half, hitting 3-5 from long range. I’d really, really like to see Tim get that three-point shooting percentage back up in the next few weeks.

— Not much from Frank, but he did play 33 minutes, and the Knicks (minus-2) were pretty competent when he was on the court. Now that Trey Burke has cooled off, maybe we can get him some minutes at the point?

As P&T’er “Knicks fans know how to suffer” pointed out, the game was generally a mess. But at least it wasn’t a blowout. Not sure we’ll be so lucky on Sunday, when the Knicks take on the Toronto Raptors.