Even though the Milwaukee Bucks were up by 25 points at half-time on Tuesday night, the reigning Most Valuable Player maintained his focus to put the finishing touches on a 128-102 National Basketball Association (NBA) victory over the New York Knicks.
The Knicks, meanwhile, have to be happy their season series with the Bucks is over as Milwaukee's margin of victories over the Knicks was a whopping 93 points over their three games.
We were able to fight it out and get one."With the win, the Knicks improved to 7-11 since David Fizdale was sacked as head coach December 6 and replaced by Mike Miller."I just told the guys I'm so happy for them, so proud of them for hanging in there and battling back", Miller said afterward". "When you come out with the mindset to make the lead go 20 or 30 or 40, that's when you mess up the lead".
"You just have to keep working and then you look up and see that you are leading at 30. Then you're like, 'OK, we did our job so now we can sit'". After being hampered by a sore back and averaging 22.3 points - more than seven points below his season average - during the first threegames of the road trip, the 6-foot-11 hybrid guard/forward scored 13 points in the first quarter against the Trail Blazers.
The highlight of his night was that in the third quarter he had fouled a 3 hand for the first time since playing in the second division in Greece. That made my day. So I think whenever he has one of those games, you feel like he's going to come out and playwith force in the first quarter, want to put a different spin on the game.
In addition to Antetokounmpo's impressive performance, small forward Khris Middleton scored 17 points, while Turkish worldwide Ersan Ilyasova racked up 14 points and 7 rebounds.
For the losing side, Julius Randle posted a double-double with 25 points and 15 rebounds, making him the high scorer for his team. The Bucks converted a five-point play when Knicks guard Elfrid Payton received two technical fouls and was ejected with 6:58 left in the quarter. "He took the challenge to be an even better shooter", Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. Offensively, our execution, both when we're playing motion and in the half-court stuff, we need to be better. "Middleton is looking for its second consecutive NBA All Star selection".
Knicks: Signed forward Kenny Wooten to a two-way contract. Knick interim coach Mike Miller said he was impressed with "the athleticism and the energy and strength with which he plays". Only the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls (72 wins) and 2015-16 Golden State Warriors (73) have eclipsed that mark. But it is not an issue that Budenholzer is thinking about. "We know we got off to a good start, but there is still a lot to do", he said. "Defensively, individual pride, it feels like there are nights where we can't keep the ball in front of us".
Knicks: hosts the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.
The Bucks try to make it 36 wins when they host New York Tuesday night at the Fiserv Forum.
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