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Game Preview: Knicks @ Bucks, 3/11/2021


Milwaukee Bucks v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Hello, friend. Have a nice break? As you can see everything is pretty much right where we left it since we last spoke.

Whooo! Keep them masks high and tight, we got some maniacs out here. Anyway, here’s the deal, man. The Knicks have been throwing snowballs through the first half of the schedule and now it’s about to starting warming up. Eventually we can all get vaccinated and start dunking on fools again!

Ewing dunks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Projected Starters

Nothing to see hear really. As you’d expect for the Knicks at full health. Although, it seems maybe Derrick Rose may have actually gotten COVID. Either that or someone he is very close to got it, and they found out via contact tracing.

Whatever the case may be, the Knicks will need him as the games start to pick up that critical steam. That worrisome, urging, pulsating squeeze of a playoff seed has been planted. With a cluster of eight teams that are less than five games back of the Knicks, the work they’ve done to get into the fifth spot is nowhere near over.

Elfrid Payton v Jrue Holiday

Reggie Bullock v Donte DiVincenzo

RJ Barrett v Khris Middleton

Julius Randle v Giannis Antetokounmpo

Nerlens Noel v Brook Lopez

It’s also worth noting that Austin Rivers will not be with the team for personal reasons.

Whatever they are, New York will continue to play through their steady All Star.

Milwaukee Bucks v New York Knicks Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Keys & Predictions

Of course everything begins (and gets close to the end) with Julius Randle. A bonafide All-Star, he’ll now have the second half of the season to stake his claim as an All NBA candidate. The stakes are higher, the games will get harder. Playoff teams laser in on what weaknesses to expose. Who they’re hunting. A major step in Randle’s development will be how well he handles exposure to this type of radiation.

Right off the bat, the Bucks. Sporting the reigning MVP of both 2020 and the All-Star Game it will be no small feat to knock them off. The fact that the last time these teams faced, New York blew their doors off the hinges probably hasn’t been sitting right with Milwaukee. Especially with guys like Thanasis Antetokounmpo who seems to hold grudges and thrash people at an All-Star level, if nothing else.

Really scary Thanny aside, the Bucks do have some worrisome and menacing players and the Knicks will have to throw several kitchen sinks at them tonight in Milwaukee.

If there’s a weakness to be spotted on the Bucks hide, it’s the lack of depth. New York will need to have enough juice to weather the storm against the starting unit and make hay against the backups. That means no letting DJ Augustin go off, as has long been a huge problem for the Knicks. Maybe the combination of speedy Immanuel Quickley and spidery Frank Ntilikina can burn him and Bryn Forbes up under their magnifying glasses. Just need to get the right angle.

It won’t be boiled down so simply as that. Julius having a big game after some half-rest over the break will be pivotal, as it always will be and has been this season. Maybe help is on the horizon but as it stands now, help is coming from the weak side.

Game at 8:00. Knicks by -9

Larry Johnson Action Portrait Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Parting Shot

A tale of two Meccas. New York is commonly referred to as the Mecca of Basketball but Milwaukee had the original Mecca floor. Back in 1977, pop and modern artist, Robert Indiana (most famed for his series of Love sculptures) painted the court in Milwaukee bright and bold. Taking the geometry of the court and giving it new dimensions. Nowadays we mostly think about the athletes that make this game such an eye catching, kinetic energy. The art and design that goes into every aspect of the game helps their leaps leap.