Knicks 100, Bucks 112: Good, bad, and ugly

knicks, tom thibodeau

If not for resilient performance from the second team, the New York Knicks would’ve been booed out of their home arena on Wednesday evening. The Milwaukee Bucks rained down 3’s the entire game, hitting on 52%, courtesy of Grayson Allen and Pat Connaughton.

The Knicks undoubtedly have vulnerabilities and weaknesses they must iron out in the coming weeks, and the majority of them start on defense. Considering Milwaukee was the 18th ranked three-point shooting team coming into this game, it is clear a lack of perimeter defense is plaguing New York.

Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from the loss:

The good:

The best part of the contest for the Knicks was the impressive performance of their bench. Obi Toppin contributed 14 points, Derrick Rose 22, Alec Burks 14, and Immanuel Quickley 18. They combined four 12 three-point hits, with Rose earning six of them.

If not for a fantastic second team, this game would’ve gotten away early for New York, who faced a 24-point deficit in the second half. Despite fighting their way back, they ran out of gas in the fourth quarter as the starter simply couldn’t get anything going.

The bad:

The starting team was abysmal in the defeat, as Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier contributed four points in total. Walker, Fournier, and RJ Barrett attempted nine 3-PT shots, with Barrett hitting the only one. Walker’s play continues to be a liability — he’s useless on the defensive side, so if he’s not scoring, his value hovers around zero.

The Knicks find themselves digging out of early deficits, which is unacceptable for a team with this much talent. Tom Thibodeau must be livid about his squad’s defensive play, and if this continues, you better believe they will be active at the trade deadline looking to inject more talent on that side of the ball.

The ugly:

The Knicks’ perimeter defense remains a serious issue. Allowing 54% from deep is simply unacceptable. New York has made poor three-point shooting team looks like elite ones this season, as the Cleveland Cavaliers also hit on 54.3% just two games ago, despite being the 15th ranked squad in the category.

The Knicks’ players simply don’t close out fast enough or exert enough energy to contest shots, leaving wide-open sharpshooters. They collapse too quickly in the interior and are susceptible to the kick-out, which opposing teams have seen on film and capitalized on. It is one of their more ugly vulnerabilities the season and one they must solve if they’re going to be a playoff-caliber team this year.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: