This game was stupid, friends. The New York Knicks were missing their best player, Julius Randle (thigh contusion). The Milwaukee Bucks were missing like seven rotation players. Their solution was to play zone all game and just chuck relentlessly. And it damn near worked, too. But a late three-pointer from Alec Burks finally put the Knicks on top for good, and they were able to squeak out a 102-96 win.
The Knicks looked decent against the zone early in the first quarter, but the Bucks kept hitting bullshit step-back 30-footers to stay in the game. Meanwhile, Tom Thibodeau had to juggle his big man rotation after Mitchell Robinson suffered a fractured foot.
Milwaukee kept the game tight throughout, thanks to standout performances from end-of-the-bench guys like Jordan Nwora (career-high 21 points) and former Knick Thanasis Antetokounmpo (career-high). Thanasis was a particular thorn in New York’s side, hitting a ridiculous fade-away triple and throwing a no-look dime late to tie the game at 96. That’s when Burks, the fourth-quarter maestro, did his thing.
This game was ugly, but there were other heroes. RJ Barrett struggled shooting, but finished with 21 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. He got a big steal late to snuff out Milwaukee’s rally. Derrick Rose came back from COVID and chipped in 13 points. Obi Toppin scored his first basket in what seems like a month, though Thibs went with Kevin Knox in Obi’s place in the second half. Knox hit a three and acquitted himself fairly well. Come back soon, Julius!