Elfrid Payton lifts the Knicks as they stun Bucks 110-130
- Updated: December 28, 2020
And the Knicks finally broke the ice. Tom Thibodeau’s first victory as the head coach of the New York Knicks came last night against one of the top teams in the east, and it was by a large margin.
In his third start of the season, Elfrid Payton gave the Knicks exactly what they were expecting from a point guard and his 27 points on a 12-16 shooting lifted the Knicks to a stunning 110-130 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at the Garden. Payton remained to practice his shooting following the loss against the Sixers from the other night when he finished scoreless and it paid off.
The Bucks scored the first couple of points but that was their only lead of the night. In spite of being the team with the best NBA record over the past two seasons, they allowed the Knicks to build a 28 point lead early in the fourth quarter, never really posing a threat past the halftime.
Julius Randle led the Knicks with 29 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists. RJ Barrett also recovered after the Sixers blowout and scored 17 points shooting 7-17, grabbed 8 rebounds and dished 4 assists for a plus- of 21.
“When you don’t make shots you can’t let that impact other parts of your game. He had a big first game. When you have a game like that you’re going to have attention. You got to read the game and how they are playing you. You have to use their aggressiveness the way they are closing out to our team’s advantage. He’s doing that with penetrating drives and pressure on the defense and forcing defenses to collapse.”
– Tom Thibodeau on RJ Barrett
Another great story was Frank Ntilikina, who finally got some solid playtime and in his 19 minutes off the bench he went 4-4 from behind the arc adding 12 points. Alec Burks continued to shoot well, going 4-5 from the three for a total of 18 points.
As a team, the Knicks shot the ball so much better, going close to 60% from long distance compared to Bucks’ 18.4%.
The Bucks were led by Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 27 points and 13 rebounds. Khris Middleton had 22 while former Knick, Bobby Portis scored 17 points off the bench.
Next up: the Knicks (1-2) will travel to Cleveland and take on the undefeated Cavs (3-0) on Wednesday.