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Bucks 146, Knicks 122: Scenes from 23 three-pointers to seven.

New York continues to shoot terribly in the land o’ brats, wastes 41 points from Julius Randle, and loses their IST Knockout game.

NBA: In Season-Quarterfinals-New York Knicks at Milwaukee Bucks Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

In Wisconsin tonight, the New York Knicks (12-8) kept the score close through the first half against the Milwaukee Bucks (15-6), despite awful long-range shooting. In a defense-optional affair, the combined halftime point total was absolutely ridiculous (see below). The Knicks left their mojo in the locker room at intermission, were outscored 71-50 in the second half, and ultimately lost their In-Season Tournament Knockout game, 146-122.

First Half

After a tentative first few minutes, both teams found consistent success in the paint—all but two of New York’s first 16 field goal attempts came between the foul-line and the rim. Despite missing their three longball attempts, the Knicks entered the second quarter down 37-35, thanks to the Eastern Conference Player of the Week, Julius Radle. The big fella carried the team early, making all of his first nine shots and all six of his free throws.

Milwaukee plays tissue paper defense, but they are brilliant on offense. They shot 71% from deep through the first half, while the Knicks continued to fire blanks (3-of-10). New York fell behind by eight points midway through the second frame, but entered intermission down only 75-72. They had kept it close thanks to Randle’s Terminator-like focus, Jalen Brunson’s inspired play, the team making 17-of-18 from the foul-line, and an 18-10 rebounding advantage.

That’s right: 147 points scored in the first half. And only nine points were Knicks’ three-pointers. Check the halftime shot chart:

Second Half

Whattayaknow, Milwaukee can play a little defense. Their 18-6 run to start the third left the Knicks punchdrunk. New York went about three and half minutes without a field goal, and they couldn’t contain Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak dominated in his third quarter minutes and helped to open a 15 point gash on the Knicks; meanwhile, the vaunted New York D had generously surrendered 100 points with four and a half minutes to go in Q3.

Julius Randle had a season-high 36 points when he took a breather with 2 minutes left in Q3. During his rest, the beating continued. New York were outscored 37-24 in the frame and headed into the fourth trailing 112-96.

To start the fourth, Josh Hart and RJ Barrett led a bench-heavy comeback charge and outscored their foes 7 to Oh. The Bucks, smelling an NBA Cup payday, kicked back and went up by 27. The Knicks made only four triples in the second half, were out-rebounded 26-19 (if my math is correct), and finished the game 7-of-23 from deep to Milwaukee’s 23-of-38 (61%). Late in the game, it looked like this:

What a bummer that our NBA Cup dreams are over. If the Knicks expect a deep-playoff run they will need more points from their starters. I’m a broken record, but it was evident yet again tonight. Versus a potent offense, a laggy first-five can fall behind quickly. Their shooting guard, Quentin Grimes, took—and missed—one shot in 18 minutes. Forget the -3 plus/minus. He contributed zero points, again. That stings.

In September, if you had predicted that Grimes and Mitchell Robinson would average the same amount of points per game through the first quarter of the season, what a laugh I would have had. Statmuse says they’re both logging 6.2 per game. That stinks.

I’ll step off my soapbox. Sam Stein has your recap lacquered and baking in the kiln. Safe travels, Knickabockas.

Box Score