(19-18) -- (22-14)

Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI MSG 8:00 PM EST

Probable starters:

Injury Report

New York Knicks Milwaukee Bucks
Mitchell Robinson - Right hand surgery (OUT) No injuries to report for the team
Taj Gibson - Sprained right ankle (QUEST) -
Austin Rivers - Birth of child (NWT) -
Derrick Rose - Medical protocols (OUT) -

Game Preview

All-Star Game MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks host Knicks

The Milwaukee Bucks answered a season-high five-game losing streak by winning six of their next seven contests heading into the All-Star break.

The Bucks look to continue that momentum on Thursday when they host the upstart New York Knicks.

While Milwaukee was nearly perfect during its recent stretch, Giannis Antetokounmpo indeed was flawless by making all 16 shots he attempted on Sunday to win his first NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award. Antetokounmpo finished with 35 points to lead Team LeBron to a 170-150 victory over Team Durant in Atlanta.

"I'm just playing one-on-one; nobody is double-teaming," Antetokounmpo said. "If you feel good, then I feel good that it will be good. I just get up and have fun and just try to get as many shots as I can."

Antetokounmpo appears to be having fun as he chases his third straight NBA MVP award. He is averaging team-best totals in points (29.0), rebounds (11.7), assists (5.9) and blocks (1.4).

Antetokounmpo collected 27 points, 13 rebounds and five assists in the Bucks' 130-110 loss to the Knicks on Dec. 27.

Khris Middleton scored 22 points in that game for Milwaukee, which was undone by a dismal 7-for-38 performance (18.4 percent) from 3-point range.

New York's Julius Randle recorded 29 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists in that contest. Randle averages team-best totals in all three categories (23.2 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 5.5 apg) for the Knicks, who have won eight of their last 11 games.

"He's turned into an All-NBA player. He's been a terrific leader," New York coach Tom Thibodeau said of Randle recently.

Randle also had a busy day on Sunday, as he participated in the Skills Competition, was used as a prop by teammate Obi Toppin in the Slam Dunk Contest and played 13 minutes in his first All-Star Game.

Randle, in fact, had no qualms with his limited playing time in the exhibition contest. After all, he has played in all 37 of the Knicks' games.

"I'm leading the league in minutes. It's a great thing. Trust me, I'm fine," Randle said, via the New York Post.

"It was great. Definitely everything I imagined to be part of it. I had a lot of fun, (was) excited. It's something I want to be part of a lot more. It was a great experience, the conversations. It's an experience I'll never forget -- the first one."

The way the Knicks are trending, Randle could also play a big role in taking the club to the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 season.

First things first, however. New York begins the second half of the season by starting a four-game road trip in Milwaukee, which sports a 14-5 record at Fiserv Forum. The Knicks have lost seven of their last 10 contests away from Madison Square Garden.

RJ Barrett and Elfrid Payton will be tasked with providing consistent secondary scoring for New York.

Barrett, who chips in 16.5 points per night on the season, has averaged 20.3 over his last four games.

Payton, who offers 12.7 points per contest in 2020-21, has scored 20 points in each of the last two contests. He erupted for 27 points on 12 of 16 shooting from the floor in the first encounter with the Bucks.

--Field Level Media

(STATS / cbssports.com)