A Jalen Brunson masterpiece was overshadowed by another late meltdown by the Knicks as the Milwaukee Bucks came from 17 points down to defeat New York 111-107 on Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
Brunson led the way for the Knicks with 44 points, seven rebounds and four assists in one of his best performances at any level of his basketball career.
However, after controlling the game for three quarters, the Knicks let the Bucks back into it in the fourth quarter. A quarter that saw Milwaukee outscore the Knicks by nine and close the game strong behind huge three-pointers from Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez.
Holiday, who struggled with foul trouble early in the game, finished with 15 points and nine assists while saving the biggest shots of the night in the final minutes of the contest. Lopez had 17 points and had some backbreaking buckets in the final moments including a reverse dunk to help seal the win late.
The Bucks had seven players finish with double figures led by 22 points, 10 boards and five dimes from Giannis Antetokounmpo who saw his supporting cast to save the day in the latter stages.
Julius Randle had 25 points and 16 rebounds in another strong outing and Immanuel Quickley had 23 points as a starter in place of the injured RJ Barrett. Quickley has been a bright spot of late and with consistent minutes has provided steady performances in recent games. However, other than Brunson, Randle and Quickley no one had more than four points for the hosts.
So sayeth P&Ter Walt Clyde Phraser: “That was really enjoyable for a little while.” Ultimately, though, you can add this to the list of heartbreaking defeats this season where they have come close to a signature win only to have it slip away in a quarter or in the final seconds. It’s the second time it has happened at home against the Bucks this season.
The glass half full look at it is that the Knicks are challenging all comers and do have some impressive wins this season on the road and at home. However, their inability to put teams away in the late stages of a game and defensive execution on the perimeter in particular continue to fester with this group.
With a little over a month until the All-Star break, the Knicks have shown promise and have been resilient. They have also crumbled at times and don’t seem to have that consistent killer instinct to be a contending team in the East.
New York returns to action on Wednesday when they host the Indiana Pacers at MSG starting at 7:30 p.m. We will have all of the coverage of the game as always.