The New York Knicks never stood a chance against the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday afternoon, with RJ Barrett and Obi Toppin missing the contest due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Both players were exposed to a positive case of Covid, leaving them inactive for the game, leaving New York shorthanded.
However, to make matters worse, starting point guard Alec Burks missed the contest due to personal reasons, forcing rookie Quentin Grimes into a more prominent role with the starting five.
Of course, there was no chance New York was going to extract a victory in this game, especially with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton at the top of their games. Giannis posted 20 points and Middleton 24, combining for 18 rebounds and 15 assists.
Once again, the Knicks allowed every starter for the opposing team to hit double-digit points, and even two of their reserve players, Pat Connaughton and Rodney Hood, landed 10+ points in the game.
As for the Knicks, Julius Randle contributed just eight, recording a -17 +/- on the game, including seven turnovers. Randle has been a shell of his former self this season, failing to dominate offensively and presenting a liability on defense at times due to a lack of communication.
Veteran point guard Derrick Rose replaced Alec Burks in the lineup, recording 18 points and seven assists. However, it was rookie Quentin Grimes that stood out as the team’s scoring threat, keeping the game from getting out of hand.
Grimes posted a career-high 27 points, shooting 9 of 17 from the field and 7 of 13 from three-point range. His 40 minutes were his highest of the season and represented more combined than his previous three games.
This showcases Quentin’s shooting efficiency, and given his on-ball defense, head coach Tom Thibodeau may be more reliant on him in the future, especially against strong three-point shooting teams. Milwaukee only shot 34% from three-point range, meaning the Knicks played solid perimeter defense but unfortunately missed some of their more prominent defenders, putting them at a disadvantage.
The Knicks are now on a three-game losing streak and have lost six of their last seven games. They will look ahead to a dangerous Golden State Warriors team at MSG on Tuesday night.