The Knicks look to upset the Eastern Conference juggernaut Bucks and take positive momentum into December.

Jalen Brunson and The Knicks (10-11) welcome the Milwaukee Bucks (14-5) into Madison Square Garden tonight for the second of three matchups this season. New York has dropped four straight to the Bucks and have surrendered 112+ points in each defeat, per Land of Basketball. Led by Giannis Antetokounmpo and his career-high 30.9 points per game and 11.4 rebounds, per ESPN Stats, the Bucks are clearly one of the league’s top teams.

The ‘Bockers have a few factors going for them tonight. First, Milwaukee star Khris Middleton (wrist) is out for tonight’s game. Serge Ibaka (illness) won’t see the court either. 

Next, Milwaukee has been an average away team this season—they have a 3-3 record. However, the Knicks have lost three straight at The Garden since November 11th. Something has to give.

Floor General Faceoff

With Jalen Brunson, the Knicks no longer have a massive point guard disadvantage against most teams. Brunson leads the Knicks in scoring and distributing at 21.2 points and 6.6 assists, per ESPN Stats. JB has been worth every penny of his four-year/$104 million contract and looks to continue his career year  against the toughest challenge he has faced in orange and blue. Milwaukee leads the NBA in team defensive rating and opponents points in the paint, an area where Brunson does damage, per NBA Stats. Brunson’s tied his lowest scoring output as a Knick on October 28th in the first matchup against the Bucks, posting 13 points on only three of 10 shooting, per ESPN Stats.

Brunson’s matchup against Jrue Holiday, an elite perimeter defender, looks to be tough. Holiday ranks second in the NBA in defensive win shares, behind his teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo, per NBA Stats. Brunson likely needs to hit outside shots and be quick with his decision making in the middle for the Knicks to succeed tonight. The paint will likely be treacherous for the 6’1″ point guard.

Other Knicks guards Immanuel Quickley and Derrick Rose, who will likely see minutes at the point guard position this evening, may benefit from additional shootaround time as well.

Birthday Julius Encore?

Julius Randle had a birthday performance for the ages last night against the Pistons, pouring in 36 points in a rout that had grown men upset.

Randle, like Brunson, struggled mightily against the Bucks last time they faced off, scoring only 14 points. Hopefully, Randle’s outstanding game last night helps him gather momentum and save the Knicks’ season.

Tip-off is 7:30 PM EST from MSG.

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