Julius Randle layup attempt white uniform looking at rim
The Knicks fell to the Milwaukee Bucks 123-108 on Friday night, and have now lost six of their last seven games.
Here are the key takeaways …
– Despite the group’s recent struggles, the Knicks sent out their typical starting five to get things started: Kemba Walker, Evan Fournier, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson.
– The Knicks’ night got off to an inauspicious start, with a Randle turnover leading to a Bobby Portis 3-pointer at the other end. Giannis Antetokounmpo was off to his usual antics, scoring seven of the Bucks’ first 11 points. Meanwhile, Robinson picked up a couple of early fouls, sending him to the bench.
Fournier scored eight points to lead the Knicks in the first, but the 3-point-happy Bucks lived up to their reputation, hitting five threes in the first period while Antetokounmpo scored 13 to help Milwaukee take a 39-30 lead into the second. Meanwhile, Barrett and Randle got off to dreadful starts, combining to go 1-for-10 shooting with five points and three turnovers.
– The Bucks pushed their lead up to 14 points in the early moments of the second, with Nerlens Noel picking up a flagrant foul on Antetokounmpo. Quentin Grimes gave the Knicks good minutes in the first half, knocking down three threes, and as the starters came back in, the Knicks’ cut into that Milwaukee lead, trimming it to four points late in the quarter.
In the final minute, a Randle turnaround shot pulled the Knicks within one, but a Pat Connaughton triple gave Milwaukee a 67-63 lead, despite New York’s 21-10 run. Barrett scored 13 points in the half (3-of-11 shooting), while Randle had just four points on four shot attempts.
– In the third, every time the Bucks began to push their lead back up, the Knicks clawed right back in. Milwaukee led by as many as seven points, but buckets from Fournier and Randle kept the Bucks from going up double-digits, as did some timely threes.
The Knicks cut it down to two points late, but Milwaukee carried a 93-88 lead into the final quarter. Fournier was up to 17 points through three quarters on 7-of-10 shooting, and while Barrett was still struggling with his shot (5-of-18 shooting) he had a team-leading 18 points, thanks to three three-pointers and five made free throws.
– After an Alec Burks 3 cut the Bucks’ lead to two points to start the fourth, seven quick points from Antetokounmpo had Milwaukee back up by nine, much to the dismay of Tom Thibodeau, who was forced to call an early timeout. A 20-6 Bucks run completely swung the momentum back into the home team’s favor.
Another Fournier three cut the lead to eight with four-and-a-half to go, but it was just too much Greek Freak to handle, as he finished with 38 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists. The Bucks outscored the Knicks 30-20 in the final quarter.
For the Knicks, Fournier finished with 25 points and Barrett had 23, but it was another down night for Randle, who had nine points, 11 rebounds and a -11 rating. Randle didn’t take a shot in the fourth quarter.
With their three-game road trip finished, the Knicks head home to host the Sacramento Kings on Monday night at 7:30 p.m.