Bucks, Knicks eye rebound effort
December 28, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett (9) pulls away from the defense of Minnesota Timberwolves center Greg Monroe (55) and guard Jaylen Nowell (4) in the fourth quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn – USA TODAY Sports
Two teams are looking to turn the tide after suffering double-digit losses as the Milwaukee Bucks host the New York Knicks on Friday night.
The Bucks hit the road for a one-game pit stop in Cleveland and lost 115-99 to the Cavaliers on Wednesday night. The loss ended a three-game winning streak and Milwaukee has now lost its last four road games.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was one rebound away from his third straight double-double with 26 points and nine rebounds on 7-of-13 shooting, but matched his season high with seven turnovers. Bobby Portis added 22 points and Khris Middleton finished with 21.
“I think we started well,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We couldn’t hold it down and they (the Cavaliers) played the lights tonight, so I don’t know what the analogy is or anything, but they played really, really well. They shot it at a really, really high pace.
Milwaukee really struggled behind the 3-point line, going just 9-for-32 (28.1%). The Bucks were without two of their best long-range shooters as Grayson Allen served his one-game suspension and Wesley Matthews was sidelined with a knee injury.
Allen should be ready to return on Friday, and Matthews is listed day to day. Milwaukee will be permanently without Brook Lopez, who continues to recover from back surgery.
The Knicks are coming off a 110-96 loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday night in Game 2 of a three-game road trip. New York has now lost consecutive games and has lost five of its last six games.
Obi Toppin scored a team-high 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the bench. RJ Barrett followed closely with 17, Julius Randle had 11 and reserve Immanuel Quickly contributed 12 to accompany seven assists.
“I just felt like I faced a championship-caliber team today,” Toppin said. “I felt like we didn’t bring the energy from the jump, but we know what we have to do. We will learn from this loss and come out better. »
Another road game might not be the cure the Knicks are looking for to remedy their woes. New York has gone 1-5 in its last six away games.
Despite the inconsistent play, Barrett found his groove in the month of January. The sophomore goaltender is averaging 22.5 points over his last 13 games and shooting 45.7 percent from the field and 43.7 percent from behind the arc.
Barrett’s contributions have been vital with Randle’s game sliding at the opposite end of the spectrum. The former All-Star is averaging 17 points in January, his lowest rating in a single month this season. Randle averaged at least 18.9 in October, November and December.
The Knicks have also struggled to shoot the ball as a team and haven’t been able to shoot better than 43% from the field in any of the last four games.
Friday marks the fourth and final meeting of the season between New York and the Bucks. Milwaukee has won two of the first three games, including a 112-97 victory at New York in their last game on Dec. 12.
–Field level media