3 keys for the Knicks to take down the Milwaukee Bucks

tom thibodeau, knicks

Similar to the New York Knicks, the Milwaukee Bucks have had their fair share of struggles to open the season. While the Knicks have one more win than the reigning World Champions, Milwaukee has lost three of their last four games and won just a single game at home.

Their losses came against the Timberwolves, Spurs, and Jazz, finally overcoming a lowly Detroit Pistons team in their most recent win. In two of the three losses, they scored 95 points or less, indicating poor offensive play.

Both the Bucks and Knicks seem to be vulnerable at this point in time, making this game entirely possible for New York to win.

Three keys for the Knicks against the Bucks:

1.) The easier said than done task of limiting Giannis

Stopping Giannis Antetokounmpo is a necessity, but obviously, it’s easier said than done. Giannis is averaging 27.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 6.4 assists this season. He’s shooting 53.4% from the field and 31.6% from three-point range, a slight uptick compared to his career average.

Everything runs through the massive power forward, so if New York can play solid interior defense, focusing on physicality, they will have a good chance at taking down Milwaukee on Friday night. Ultimately, it starts with Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson clogging the lanes and playing off one another. Randle needs to use his big frame to put a body on Giannis and stop him from utilizing his trademarked running start to get to the rim.

2.) ELITE defense is a necessity

The Knicks have opened the season with poor defensive ratings, currently ranked 25th in the NBA. They have lacked in multiple categories, but the team is still gelling and developing chemistry, something that has been holding them back to a degree.

However, lack of hustle and effort has been displayed at times, so the Knicks need to be on the edge against the Bucks, exerting maximum force to stop some of the league’s most potent offensive players.

Luckily for the Knicks, it seems as if the Bucks will be without Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, and Jrue Holliday. If they can limit Giannis to an average game, which is still elite production, they have a solid chance at winning their sixth game of the season.

3.) Must shoot over 38% from 3-PT

The Knicks have lost just one game shooting over 38%, and it came against the Toronto Raptors earlier this week. In the defeat, they shot 42.1% and connected on 16 three-point shots. However, they backed it up with an embarrassing performance against the Indiana Pacers, shooting just 20.8% from range.

Milwaukee is solid guarding the perimeter and creating tough three-point opportunities for their opponents, so if the Knicks can win in that category, it should take pressure off the defense.

Early on, New York has identified itself as a three-point shooting team that lives and dies by the factor. They must pair elite three-point shooting with elite defense or they will always be playing catch-up on a colder night.

Luckily for the Knicks, Milwaukee is a poor three-point shooting team, so if they have a hot hand, they can pull away with a comfortable lead early on.

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