Knicks Seek Redemption Against NBA’s Top Team: Knicks (7-22) vs. Bucks (25-4) Preview

photo from Brad Penner- USA Today Images and WFAN radio

The New York Knicks (7-22) will be at home, facing the Milwaukee Bucks (25-4) at 7:30pm Eastern Time. The Bucks are listed as 13 point favorites, led by the reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Starting Lineups- With 2 Attributes That Will Be Impactful Tonight (Strength, Weakness)

PositionNew York KnicksMlwaukee Bucks
PGElfrid Payton (facilitating, scoring)Donte DiVincenzo (3 point shooting, turnovers)
SGRJ Barrett (driving, shooting)Khris Middleton (shooting/defense, fouling)
SFMarcus Morris Sr. (3 point shooting, fouling)Giannis Antetokounmpo (scoring/ rebounding, turnovers)
PFJulius Randle (interior scoring, turnovers)Ersan Ilyasova (rebounding, interior defense)
CTaj Gibson (rebounding, shooting)Brook Lopez (interior defense, shooting)

Matchup Of The Night

Marcus Morris Sr. vs. Khris Middleton

Khris Middleton is Milwaukee’s second best player and best shooter. Middleton is shooting an impressive 40.4% from three, while averaging 18 points per game. Middleton is your prototypical 3 & D guy in the NBA. Standing at 6-7, Middleton is long and quick on defense, locking up opponents on the perimeter. Morris Sr., the Knicks top scorer (18.7 PPG) and three baller (47.2% 3P), will draw the tough matchup. Morris Sr. has been an elite shooter this season from downtown, but is shooting only 40.3% from inside the arc. He will need to score on all three levels tonight to help the Knicks keep pace with the #1 offense in the NBA.

Inactives

Knicks- Wayne Ellington and Reggie Bullock

Bucks- Eric Bledsoe, Wesley Matthews, and Dragan Bender

Key Statistics

  1. Milwaukee leads the NBA in points per game (120.7). New York is last in the NBA (103.1).
  2. The Bucks shoot 48.4% from the floor, 2nd in the NBA. The Knicks shoot 42.9% from the field, 29th in the NBA.
  3. Milwaukee is 3rd in the NBA, making 14.2 threes per game. New York is 25th in the NBA, making 10.5 per game.
  4. The Bucks are shooting 72.6% from the free throw line, 29th in the NBA. The Knicks are shooting 68.3% from the line, last in the NBA.
  5. Milwaukee leads the league, averaging 50.9 rebounds per game. New York leads the league, averaging 12.2 offensive rebounds per game.
  6. The Knicks are 8th in the NBA, averaging 14.2 turnovers per game. The Bucks are 12th in the NBA, averaging 14.6 turnovers per game.
  7. The Bucks are 8th in the NBA, averaging 5.8 blocks per game. The Knicks are 22nd in the NBA, averaging 4.6 blocks per game.
  8. Milwaukee own a NET Rating of 12.2, leading the NBA. The Knicks own a NET Rating of -8.9, 27th in the NBA.
  9. The Bucks lead the NBA in Pace (105.23). The Knicks are 26th in the NBA in Pace (98.66).
  10. Milwaukee scores 19.2 fast break points per game, 2nd in the NBA. New York scores 10.5 per game, 28th in the NBA.

Keys To Winning

The keys for the Knicks tonight are covering the three-point line, keeping Giannis Antetokounmpo out of the paint, and not turning the ball over. The last time these two teams played, Milwaukee scored 132 points, shooting 16-35 (45.7%) from downtown. The Knicks must contest the three ball better in this game to give themselves a chance. Giannis Antetokounmpo is arguably the best player in the league and a force to be reckoned with. Although he is an improved shooter, the Knicks must force him to hit shots and load the paint when he drives, as he is unstoppable around the basket. Finally, ball security is a focal point in this game for the Knicks. The Bucks love to run and can run the score up in a hurry if they generate turnovers and get open looks in transition. New York must slow the pace, not turn the ball over, and take good shots on offense.

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