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Game Preview: New York Knicks vs. Milwaukee Bucks, December 23, 2023

The Knickerbockers lock horns with the best of the East for the third time this season.

New York Knicks v Milwaukee Bucks: Quarterfinals - 2023 NBA In-Season Tournament Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

On Saturday, the New York Knicks (16-11) aim to extend their two-game winning streak as they face the Milwaukee Bucks (21-7) yet again. Due to the In-Season Tournament, the Knicks will face the Bucks a total of five times in the regular season. (Thanks, Commish.)

The Bucks squeaked out a win over the Knicks, 110 to 105, on November 3, and dominated them, 146 to 122, on December 5. Over the two games they’ve played so far:

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged 28.5 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists;
  • Damian Lillard has averaged 29 points, 5.5 assists, and 3.5 rebounds;
  • Julius Randle has averaged 28.5 points, nine rebounds and five assists;
  • Jalen Brunson has averaged 34.5 points, five assists, and four rebounds

Too bad the Knicks don’t have any A1 players like the Bucks do…(in your eye, Hammon!)

Since the December tilt, the Knicks have gone 4-3, and the Bucks have won six of seven tries. Over that span, the Bucks have been the league’s best defensive rebounding team, the third-best rebounder overall, and have jumped up to 11th for defensive rating. So that’s just great: now a team that can light up a scoreboard is getting better on defense.

For the Bucks: Antetokounmpo (foot) is listed as probable for today’s game, but I doubt he sits. MarJon beauchamp (left elbow contusion) is also probable. Jae Crowder is still out, following surgery.

For the Knicks: Jericho Sims (ankle) remains out. DaQuan Jeffries is sick.

Projected Starters

Milwaukee Bucks:

  • G- Damian Lillard
  • G- Malik Beasley
  • F- Khris Middleton
  • F- Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • C- Brook Lopez

New York Knicks:

  • G- Jalen Brunson
  • G- Donte DiVincenzo
  • F- RJ Barrett
  • F- Julius Randle
  • C- Isaiah Hartenstein

Prediction gives the Bucks a 54% advantage today. I’d give the Knicks better odds, frankly, because the vibes are good. Instead of folding up and blowing their recent road trip, they finished 3-2 with inspiring highlights (career-bests for Brunson and Hartenstein). They were supposed to be doomed without Mitchell Robinson, but they spanked the Lakers and the Nets in their last two games, and gave Kevin Durant’s Suns a whatfor, too. Happy to be home, and following two days rest, I predict our heroes to be energized and synergized, proud and loud. New York won’t let the Bucks beat them thrice—not if they want to convince the league (and maybe themselves) that they’re contenders. Knicks win by 4 in thriller.

Game Details

Who: New York Knicks vs Milwaukee Bucks
When: 12:30 pm EST, Saturday, Dec. 23
Where: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NY
Watch: MSG Network
Follow: @ptknicksblog