Knicks obliterated by Bucks in shameful showing
MILWAUKEE — The Knicks went from bad to disgusting Monday at Fiserv Forum.
The Bucks are the NBA’s hottest team and favorite to reach the NBA Finals. The Knicks were without two stalwart defensive-minded starters in Frank Ntilikina and Marcus Morris, and were playing the second night of a back-to-back, but were still humiliated 132-88.
Still, that doesn’t excuse the Knicks for showing up in Milwaukee with an utter lack of pride and suffering a 44-point defeat — which won’t look good on embattled coach David Fizdale’s ledger.
The talent disparity was severe, and the Bucks were able to do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted against a club that looked like it didn’t want to be here.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, who will be a free agent in 2021 and is the leading MVP candidate, could not have respected what he saw from his opponent as he glided effortlessly for 29 points and 15 rebounds in 22 minutes.
Antetokounmpko was done for the night with 4:50 left in the third and the score 93-55, getting a chance for a long lounge as the Bucks eventually went up by 47 points.
Past the quarter-pole, the Knicks are 4-17 — well on pace for another 17-65 season — and have lost seven straight. It’s the worst 21-game start in team history.
Milwaukee has won 12 straight games. The Knicks don’t even have a two-game winning streak this season.
The Bucks wore jerseys with “Cream City’’ scrawled across their chests. The Knicks should have worn “Cream Puffs’’ across theirs.
The fans were getting bored late in the third quarter when the scoreboard screen showed a group of Packers in a luxury suite. It sent the crowd into a new frenzy, screaming, “Go Pack Go!’’
In the first quarter, Antetokounmpo looked like he was at a schoolyard dominating middle-school kids when he drove left on Julius Randle spun in the lane dunked it over him as if he wasn’t there. Randle played a lifeless game on the defensive end.
Management, according to a source, considered the last 10-game segment an improvement over the first 10 games despite the same 2-8 record. The next step was getting the Knicks to close out games in the fourth quarter.
However, Monday was a setback of the tallest order for Fizdale’s ability to motivate the team in a tough spot.
It was even a rare horrendous night for rookie RJ Barrett, who couldn’t throw the ball into nearby Lake Michigan in the worst performance of his rookie season. Barrett went 0-for-9 from the field, finishing with two points and one assist in 20 minutes.
The Knicks shot just 4 of 24 in the first quarter and the Bucks took a 33-15 lead. They built the bulge to 32 points late in the second period.
With Ntilikina (back) and Morris (neck) out, the Knicks started Kevin Knox at small forward and Dennis Smith Jr. at point guard. Knox picked up two fouls in the opening minutes and was yanked.
Smith’s jump shot was off target, going 0-for-6 in the half — 0 for 3 from 3-point land — and was scoreless in 17:11 of the first half. He finished 1 of 7 for four points and three assists.
For the first time in eight games, Allonzo Trier received non-garbage time minutes in the first half. He played 11:50 and hit 3 of 5 baskets to rack up 10 points.
Knox finished the half 1 of 5 and committed a late turnover that led to Wesley Matthews draining a 3 that put the Bucks up 67-36.
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