Knicks Remain Winless at Home, Falling to the Bucks 99-92


89. Final. 92. 27. 99

The New York Knicks ran over the Milwaukee Bucks in the season opener 122-97 but was very fortunate that they were missing two of their top players.

There was no such luck Friday night as the “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo was done serving his one game suspension and Jabari Parker has returned from recovery, albeit in limited minutes. Fortunately for the Knicks, the Bucks were without their starting point guard Michael Carter-Williams. Carter-Williams was impressive in the first match up, abusing Jose Calderon and company, finishing the game with 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Milwaukee quickly jumped out to a double-digit lead 16-6, forcing coach Derek Fisher to call a timeout mid-way through the opening period. Greg Monroe, who was booed during introductions for not coming to New York during free agency, lead the way with six points in the first two-minute of play, maybe a little extra incentive to show the Madison Square Garden crowd what they missed out on?

New York could not stop Antetokounmpo, who got into the paint at will, layup after layup after layup… scoring 8 of his total 20 points in the first quarter. Antetokounmpo was menacing on defense as well, shutting down Knicks with his 7’4″ wingspan.

New York had a terrible first quarter, shooting 38.1% from the field. No Knick scored more than four points in the opening period. Conversely Milwaukee converted on 65% of their attempts, as the Knicks could not stop the Bucks at all… The Bucks lead 30-20 after one quarter of play.

Just as the Knicks started to build some momentum with a 4-point play from a Lance Thomas and-one play, with Miles Plumlee goaltending the play and then getting T-ed up for disagreeing with the call. Langston Galloway would knock down the technical free-throw for the unconventional 4-point play, cutting the Knick’s deficit to single figure 39-30 early in the second quarter.

Milwaukee though halted that momentum with a Parker slam down and then a Jerryd Bayless three-pointer, pushing up the Bucks lead 44-30 with 7:36 remaining in the second quarter.

It was then Anthony who took control of the game, leading the Knicks on a 12-2 run. Anthony was responsible for ten of the points, scoring three points on the charity stripe and also connecting from beyond the arc, while assisting on two Robin Lopez made baskets. The run got New York within one possession 46-43 with 2:41 remaining in the first half.

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Both teams would end up trading baskets to end the first half 56-53, although the rookie Kristaps Porzingis had a nice couple of plays before the end. Porzingis blocked former-Knick sharpshooter Chris Copeland and then on the other end showed off his range by knocking down a three-pointer. New York was awful from the field in the first half Friday night, in particularly from beyond the arc. The Knicks shot 20% from downtown in half half of play, missing their first 11 three-point attempts…

Milwakuee jumped out to a good start to the second half, with Antetokounmpo scoring six points to lead a 8-2 run to give the Bucks a 64-55 advantage.

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Porzingis though willed the Knicks back into the game, bookending a Galloway three-pointer with a couple of thunderous put back dunks!

First he posterized LaMarcus Aldridge!

Then he posterized Kevin Love!

Friday night he posterized Greg Monroe!

The 7-0 run got the Knicks within one possession 62-64 mid-way through the third quarter. Milwaukee though was able to hold onto the lead, heading into the fourth quarter up 73-75.

Knicks went back and forth in the final period, tying the game up three times but was never able to take the lead. The game started to get away from New York when John Henson scored seven straight points, out-muscling Porzingis a couple of times….and just like that the Bucks were up 90-83 mid-way through the final period. Henson off the bench, finished with a game 22 points.

Anthony then compounded the troubles with a couple of poor decisions that essentially ended any hope of coming back into the game. Anthony (for only reasons he knows) decided stupidly do a behind the back pass to Porzingis in a crucial must-score possession, turning the ball over, leading to Bayless layup on the other end.  Shortly after Anthony would get into the paint, forcing a layup with multiple defenders draped all over him…

Milwaukee went on to win the game 99-92. Anthony YET again had another poor-shooting game, going only 6/16 from the field to score 17 points. Porzingis collected his second double-double with 14 points 13 rebounds and was actually able to stay out of foul trouble for once. One criticism after six games, yes Porzingis fouls A LOT but what is even worse, is that Porzingis mostly commits weak fouls. Porzingis fouls in a manner that allow opponents to still get off a shot and an opportunity for a three-point play. I would like to see, if Porzingis does foul, commit a hard foul.

Friday night, Madison Square Garden faithful were extremely vocal about New York’s point guard situation. During the game Calderon received massive boos after a poor pass to Lopez went out of bounds. Then Jerian Grant left the game early in the fourth quarter and the crowd got hostile again, raining boos Fisher’s way to let him know about their displeasure. In my opinion the boos were justified because Grant was playing great and was pulled for no reason… Grant was a +12 in 23 minutes of play, finishing the game with 8 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists.

Next: Stop Worrying About Carmelo Anthony

Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers will be in town for an early afternoon Sunday game, hopefully New York can put a stop to the three game losing streak.