5 Things to Know: Knicks Battle Bucks in Rematch
8:00 PM EST | BMO Harris Bradley Center
TV: MSG Network
Radio: ESPN NY 98.7 FM
5 Things To Know:
1. Wednesday’s matchup at Madison Square Garden went down to the wire as Giannis Antetokounmpo connected on a game-winner over Lance Thomas’ outstretched arms. With New York clinging to a one-point lead, Antetokounmpo reached around Derrick Rose to knock the ball off his leg and out of bounds. Antetokounmpo then posted up Thomas, took a giant step-back jumper across the middle of the lane to secure the 105-104 win. The Knicks built a 14-point lead late in the third quarter after a strong start to the second half. Antetokounmpo finished with All-Star type of numbers with 27 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, and three blocks. For New York, Carmelo Anthony’s stat line was also impressive with 30 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, and two steals. Mindaugas Kuzminskas jumped off the pine to score 15 points in 19 minutes of court time.
2. Examining Wednesday’s box score reveals some interesting numbers from the two teams. New York created its third quarter lead with drive-and-kick basketball and totaled 28 attempts from downtown. The home squad hit 13 of those 3-point shots in the defeat. Milwaukee owned a significant advantage in the fast break game by outscoring the Knicks 27-4 in transition. Head coach Jeff Hornacek said his team must adjust in the Friday night rematch to limit Milwaukee’s deadly open floor attack.
3. Kristaps Porzingis confirmed he will suit up on Friday after missing his last three games due to a sore left Achilles. The big man participated in Thursday’s practice and the morning shootaround in Milwaukee. Hornacek mentioned that the team could consider placing Porzingis on a minutes restriction for his first game back on the floor. The starting lineup figures to be: Derrick Rose, Courtney Lee, Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, and Joakim Noah.
4. The Knicks will face eight Eastern Conference opponents in their next nine games. The schedule allows New York to gain some ground in the Conference if it can snap the current six-game slide. On Saturday, the Knicks will square off against Indiana before hosting New Orleans, traveling to Philadelphia, and games against Chicago, Toronto, Atlanta, Boston, and Washington.
5. Milwaukee enters Friday’s game riding a three-game winning streak, a 11-7 home mark, and 18-16 overall record. Currently, the Bucks are in the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference standings while the Knicks are in 10th but just 2.5 games behind Milwaukee.