The opening game of Christmas Day’s NBA action wasn’t particularly beautiful. Still, the Milwaukee Bucks won against the New York Knicks at the Madison Square Garden, 109-95.
After 41 years of absence on Christmas Day, the franchise from Wisconsin finally appeared on the floor.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led his team to another victory this season, 23rd to be exact, with 30 points and 14 rebounds, along with 4 steals and 2 blocks.
The Greek Freak didn’t have a chance to face Mario Hezonja once again, because the Knicks’ forward sat on the bench during the whole game. The same thing happened to Courtney Lee and Frank Ntilikina.
Giannis on the break is a scary sight 😳 pic.twitter.com/AuTnb4jF3J
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 25, 2018
His 30 points were first for one Buck on Christmas Day, since Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Giannis thanked his teammates for making it possible for him to achieve such a success.
“It’s a big compliment, but I just want to thank my teammates that they put me in spot, to help me be successful.”
One of the best players in the league also said that playing on Christmas Day was his childhood dream and that he often watched other teams and superstars appearing on the national television in prime time on this day.
The Bucks were leading 48-46 at the halftime, and that period of the game wasn’t very fun to watch as both teams had many missed shots. Still, the guest managed to pull themselves together and to outplay the Knicks in the third period with 36-22.
“We just came out in the second half, set the tone, let it be harder, move the ball, move our bodies, try to make more shots, and that’s what we did, that’s why we were able to take the win.” Bucks superstar told.
Antetokounmpo was named Eastern Conference Player of the week, which is his third award this season. Previously, he was chosen to be the Player of the month.
Brook Lopez added 20 points and was a huge problem for the Knicks’ defense. Despite firing 6 threes and hitting only one, the big guy finished the game perfect from the free throw line, 9 of 9. The 2017 Rookie of the Year, Malcolm Brogdon delivered 17 buckets with 6 boards.
Among the Knicks, rookie Kevin Knox had a team-high 21 points, but shooting very bad from the field, just 8 of 20. Tim Hardaway Jr. was even worse with 14 points, and 4 of 18. In general, the whole team had a bad shooting performance. Knicks were just 36.5% from the field, and 28.6% behind the three-point line, making only 8 hits from 28 attempts.
It's showtime ladies and gentlemen. pic.twitter.com/dXAsN7lCbb
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) December 25, 2018
They couldn’t use the dominance in the air, 58-50, and their 15 offensive rebounds. In all other aspects, Milwaukee totally outplayed the home team.
This was New York’s fifth straight loss in a row, 10th in the previous 11 contests.
Things are not looking bright for the franchise from the Big Apple, as they continue to sink, without any indication that they might heal.
Many experts are guessing that they have a plan to tank the season, in order to increase the chances of getting the first pick in the upcoming draft and take Zion Williamson, who recently stated that he would like to play here.
Others have a belief that bad results might be a consequence of Kristaps Prorzingis’ absence. The Unicorn is still not ready to play, despite all the prognoses before the start of the season.
Milwaukee, on the other side, improved their record to 23-10, making it the second best in the whole league. They are an emerging team, whose time is yet to come. With one true superstar who is already an MVP contender, the Bucks have legit chances of making it deep into the postseason.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.