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IST Game Preview: Knicks at Bucks, December 5, 2023

Can the Knicks finally beat a top five team and advance?

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

While the Knicks are currently tied for the seventh best record in the league with a 12-7 record, only two of their 12 wins have come against teams with a record over .500—and those two wins came against the Heat and the Cavaliers, both of whom are just two games over .500. And in their four games against the Celtics, Bucks, and Timberwolves, all of whom have a top five record in the league, they are winless.

Tonight, they’ll have another crack at changing that and extending their win streak to four, as they take on the Bucks for the second time this season.

But it won’t be an easy task. Milwaukee is 8-2 in their last ten games and strung together a nice stretch after looking a bit out of sorts to begin the season. Offensively, they have been dominant, averaging 126.3 points per game during that span, and it’s helped that Damian Lillard, who started the season slow, has picked things up as of late. The Bucks’ big offseason acquisition is currently averaging 27.7 PPG and 8.7 APG in his last ten games. That said, defensively, they still look very vulnerable, giving up an average of 117.9 points per game over those ten games.

New York has fared very well over their last ten games, too, going 7-3 during that stretch. But they, unlike the Bucks, have relied heavily on their defense to win games. Over those ten games, the Knicks are averaging just 112.1 points per game but are only giving up 107.5 points per game.

If tonight’s game goes anything like the first meeting between these two teams, the Knicks could slow things down, make the game physical and messy (like they often do), and make this a more defensive game. But that game might not be able to tell us much as both teams have changed quite a bit since their first meeting. When the two teams squared off in early November, Julius Randle, who just won the Eastern Conference Player of the Week, was in the midst of a horrendous shooting slump, New York was missing RJ Barrett, and Milwaukee entered the game with a record of 2-2, as they were still finding out their identity with Lillard.

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- Quentin Grimes
  • F- RJ Barrett
  • F- Julius Randle
  • C- Mitchell Robinson


While Milwaukee comes into tonight with one of the best record in the league, their offense should be slowed down a bit by the Knicks’ defense. Conversely, the Bucks’ porous defense should allow for Jalen Brunson, who exploded for 45 points in their last meeting, and Julius Randle, who has been on a tear as of late, to both have good games.

Milwaukee is a better team than the one that the Knicks played a few weeks ago, and while the same can be said for the Knicks, it’s hard to predict a Knicks win with both RJ Barrett and Quentin Grimes struggling offensively. We know this Knicks team is capable of beating anyone on any given night, and they keep games close with their defense, physicality, rebounding, and tough shot making. But Milwaukee is just a better team right now. Knicks will keep it close, but ultimately run out of gas in the end, and New York will fail to change that narrative surrounding their struggles against great teams. Knicks fall 115-108.

Game Details:

Who: New York Knicks at Milwaukee Bucks

When: 7:30 pm EST, Tuesday, Dec. 5

Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI

Watch: MSG Network/TNT

Follow: @ptknicksblog