Despite setting a new Knicks rookie three-point record, Quentin Grimes’ hot hand wasn’t enough to overcome the powerful Bucks at home.
The New York Knicks (11-14) lost to the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks (17-10) 112-97 in a matinee game at home highlighted by a shooting eruption from rookie Quentin Grimes.
New York fell to 5-9 at home despite a stellar performance from Grimes in his debut as a starter.
New York was short-staffed entering this game against Milwaukee. Due to health and safety protocols, both RJ Barrett and Obi Toppin were ruled out. Alec Burks, who was recently made a starting point guard in place of Kemba Walker, was out for personal reasons related to the birth of his child.
Due to the absence of two starters and one major bench player for the Knicks, head coach Tom Thibodeau decided to run with a starting lineup that featured Derrick Rose, to replace the hole left by Alec Burks, and rookie Quentin Grimes in place of RJ Barrett. This would be Grimes’ first start of the season and of his young NBA career.
The first started off auspiciously for New York. Despite some good looks to begin the game, the Knicks were without a field goal in the first four minutes of the contest. Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo were difficult to keep under control for the Knicks, but New York’s limited reserves did what they could against the defending champions with decent defense and a nice start to the game from Quentin Grimes. He ended the first with five points and three assists.
New York started the second quarter having only shot 37% from the field in the first. In the second quarter, those shooting woes continued and were coupled with a plethora of turnovers that burned the Knicks. There were very few bright spots as New York recorded 10 turnovers compared to Milwaukee’s five. The Knicks’ leading scorer at the half was Grimes with 13 points and three assists. Derrick Rose finished the half with eight points and three assists as well. Other than those two starters, the Knicks were unimpressive and low scoring to end the first two quarters and the team was down 61-48.
In the third quarter, Quentin Grimes caught fire and kept hitting threes to get the Knicks back into contention. He and Derrick Rose started to get the offense back into a rhythm and New York looked energized against Milwaukee for the first time all afternoon. Milwaukee kept responding to New York, though, and it became a back and forth affair as the third winded down. The Bucks ended up extending their lead to 14 to finish the quarter despite the run from the ‘Bockers earlier in the period.
THREAD OF GRIMES 3 POINT EXPLOSION pic.twitter.com/NwD3m2rvge
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) December 12, 2021
New York needed a big run to try and upset Milwaukee in the fourth. Unfortunately, the shooting for the Knicks was just not there this afternoon. It was a laborious effort from them as they kept trying to get back into the game, but it ended up being too large of a deficit to overcome. Once again, New York let the opposing team outscore them early, and the comeback attempts were too little, too late.
Quentin Grimes was New York’s leading scorer this game, recording an impressive 27 points with three assists and three steals. He also broke the record for most three-pointers hit in a Knicks game for a rookie with seven made long balls. Derrick Rose contributed 18 points and seven assists in his start, and Kevin Knox also impressed with 18 points off the bench coupled with five rebounds.
The ugly for this game came from the rest of the Knicks players. Julius Randle grabbed 10 boards and dished out seven assists, but only scored eight points on 2-of-9 shooting from the field along with coughing up the ball seven times. Evan Fournier continued to disappoint, going 9-for-17 from the field but only scoring six points in a game the Knicks desperately needed his shots to start falling again. Nerlens Noel had zero points and seven rebounds as the starting center this afternoon.
Mitchell Robinson had a solid nine points on 4-for-5 shooting and secured eight rebounds. Immanuel Quickley, who was the de facto bench general this game with Rose starting, did a good job of managing the role and finished with 11 points and five assists, but was only 1-of-6 from beyond the arc.
The Knicks will be facing the Golden State Warriors at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. Stephen Curry is only seven three-pointers away from breaking the all-time record for threes made, overtaking Ray Allen’s previous record. Given New York’s perimeter defense as of late, there is a solid chance the Knicks will be witnessing history come Tuesday night.