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Bucks beat Knicks in MSG, 109-95: Bucks vs Knicks Christmas Day 2018 Game Recap

By InsideHoops.com
December 26, 2018

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Bucks beat Knicks in MSG, 109-95 PREGAME NOTES

- It's Christmas Day! Be happy and enjoy this game, the rest of the league's games, and your day. And whatever else you care to enjoy. Enjoy lots of things!

- The Bucks are playing on Christmas Day for the first time since 1977, and for just the fifth time in franchise history. Milwaukee is 2-2 all-time on Christmas Day, with this being the fourth time they’ve played a Christmas Day game on the road.

- The Bucks enter today’s game with the second-best record in the NBA at 22-10 having won four of their last five games. Milwaukee is 14-5 (.737) against the Eastern Conference and has an NBA-high 14 wins against teams with a .500 or better record this season.

- The Bucks have won six of their last seven games over the Knicks and three of their last four at Madison Square Garden. A win today would assure Milwaukee of at least a season series split with New York for the fifth consecutive season.

- Milwaukee is the only team in the NBA to be in the top five of both offensive (4th, 110.5) and defensive (4th, 102.8) rating. The Bucks’ net rating of 7.8 is also tops in the league.

- Despite scoring a season-low 87 points against the Heat on Saturday, the Bucks still lead the NBA in scoring, averaging 116.9 points per game. Milwaukee also enters today’s game first in the league in rebounds per game (49.9) and second in three-pointers made (13.8) per contest.

- Currently averaging 26.2 points, 12.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game, Giannis Antetokounmpo is on pace to join Oscar Robertson (1961-62) as the only players in NBA history to average at least 25.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists a game for a season.

- Over the last seven games, Knox is averaging 20.3 points and 6.6 rebounds.

- Over the last 11 games, Mudiay is posting 20.3 points (leads team), 5.5 assists (leads team) and 3.3 rebounds.

- Kevin Knox recorded a team best 26 points and team high 15 rebounds over 41 minutes in Dec. 9 loss vs. CHA. The 15 rebounds and 41 minutes are careers bests for Knox and the 26 points tied a career high.

- Allonzo Trier is one of four rookies this season averaging at least 11.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and shooting at least 47-percent from the field. The other four are Deandre Ayton (1st overall pick), Marvin Bagley (2nd overall pick) and Jaren Jackson (4th overall pick).

- Mitchell Robinson finished fifth in the NBA in blocks per game in the month of November at 2.47.

- Tim Hardaway Jr Is off to a hot start to the 2018-19 season. He is averaging a career best 21.0 PPG, which is good for 20th in the NBA.

- Enes Kanter is T-seventh in the NBA in double-doubles with 21 and12th in rebounds with 11.1 per game.

- Kanter recorded a career high 26 rebounds at MEM on 11/25/18. This was his fourth 20-20 as a Knick and sixth overall. The 26 rebounds are the most by a Knick Since Tyson Chandler’s 28 rebounds vs. GSW on 2/27/13.

FIRST HALF

The Knicks outscored the Bucks by two in the first quarter. The Bucks won the second quarter by four. Halftime score: Bucks 48, Knicks 46.

As seems to happen with noon starts in the NBA, both teams got off to an extremely slow start. First half shooting was Bucks 36.2% FG, Knicks 32.0%. Both teams had similar assists and turnovers, and neither ratio was good for either squad. I've seen this so many times at noon games that I have to think the start time is a factor, when teams are used to usually playing 7+ hours later in the day. But as is logica, expect good teams to rise up and simply do better in the second half.

The Bucks, despite being the Away team, are wearing white jerseys. This is a common thing in the league these days now that there aren't really "home" and "away" jerseys anymore, but a variety of uniforms honoring different aspects of each team. It's still tough to get used to the Away team ever wearing white. It goes against what the entire world of basketball fans has been used to.

For the Bucks, Antetokounmpo led the way with 13 points, nine rebounds and two steals. Lopez scored 11. Brogdon had nine points, five rebounds and two steals. Thon Maker contributed seven points off the bench.

For the Knicks, Hardaway Jr. had 12 points and eight rebounds. Knox scored 11. Kanter had 10.

SECOND HALF

Teams remained sluggish in execution to start the third. But then the Bucks started to wake up, and at 4:43 took a 71-58 lead. Giannis has quickly and efficiently reached 23 points, 10 rebounds and three steals. Lopez is up to 15 points, Brogdon 13. For the Knicks, Knox has 17 points, but on 16 shots.

The Giannis show really took off in this half. In one sequence he played the part of a help defender perfectly by blocking an Allonzo Trier attempt, then dished an impressive assist on the other end.

A fan the upper section, several times per quarter, loudly yelled various versions of "You can do it!" in the general direction of Adam Sandler, who as you would expect has a pretty nice seat. His passion is appreciated, even if he's way too far away for Sandler to receive the holiday gift of hearing him.

End of third quarter: Bucks 84, Knicks 68. In the third, scoring was Bucks 36, Knicks 22. After a close first half, the Bucks looked like the Bucks in the third.

Giannis now has 26 points. It remains unclear how to guard him when he's attacking the basket.

Knicks legend Bernard King is in the building.

Another big block for Giannis now puts his statline at 26 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, three steals and two blocks.

Once the Bucks got a decent lead in the third quarter, this game was never really in doubt. They didn't dominate, but once they stepped up in the third they never really looked back.

Final score: Bucks 109, Knicks 95.

In the win, Antetokounmpo was dominant with 30 points (13-of-21 FG), 14 rebounds, three assists, four steals and two blocks, Lopez scored 20 on just 10 shot attempts, Brogdon had 17 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals, Thon Maker scored 12, and Bledsoe had 11 points, six rebounds and five assists. Middleton had a very off day, shooting 2-of-12.

In the loss, Knox scored 21 but on 20 shots, plus six rebounds, Vonleh contributed 14 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks, and Hardaway Jr. had 14 points and 10 rebounds but shot just 4-of-18.

The Knicks are now 9-26 this season. They are now 22-31 all-time on NBA Christmas Day games. They have lost six straight Christmas Day games. Still coming (as separate features): Interviews with two Bucks players and one Knicks player.

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