Despite their improved play of late, the New York Knicks received yet another sign that they have a long way to in Monday night's road game against the NBA-worst Milwaukee Bucks.
Trailing 96-92 with 44 seconds remaining in regulation, the Knicks saw enigmatic shooter J.R. Smith nail a three-pointer with 44 seconds left to cut the lead to just one point. Unfortunately for New York, they followed that with a mistake of their own. Brandon Knight beat Raymond Felton backdoor for an open lay-up to build the margin back up to three points with 27 seconds left, ensuring that the Bucks would get the ball back and forcing the Knicks to hit a three-pointer to force overtime. Carmelo Anthony (36 points) did just that with 19 seconds on the clock, but that gave the Bucks another chance to win.
So Knight came through yet again. Isolating Felton on the perimeter, Knight sized him up and launched a three-pointer over the defender. He drained it with 1.4 ticks left, and Anthony's desperation attempt after a Knicks timeout hit only backboard. The Bucks came away with the 101-98 win, bringing their record to just 9-39 on the season.
Knight finished with 25 points on 4-of-8 shooting from long range. In his postgame interview with the Bucks TV crew, Knight said that he wanted to isolate Felton so that he could avoid a defensive switch and shoot over a shorter defender. While this shot wasn't exactly an easy one, it's the best man-to-man matchup that the Bucks could have hoped for in this scenario.
The game-winner also followed the story of the game, in which the Bucks shot 61.1 percent (11-of-18) on three-pointers despite entering the game with a mark of only 34.4 percent, which ranked 25th in the NBA. Khris Middleton, Milwaukee's best outside shooter at 39.7 percent, nailed 5-of-6 attempts.
It figures that Bucks fans were very happy to see a thrilling win in a season without many positive moments, but one group of Bradley Center attendees had extra reason to go nuts. The family of Bucks rookie sensation Giannis Antetokounmpo, 18-year-old Greek national and arguably the most promising rookie of the 2013 draft, was on hand for the event. As you can see, they were pretty excited when Knight's shot went down.
The Antetokounmpo family reacts to Brandon Knight's go-ahead three: pic.twitter.com/0YoYL3kVDA
— Eric Buenning (@ericbuenning) February 4, 2014
Giannis had plenty of reason to celebrate after the game, too. Several weeks ago, Antetokounmpo wrote that teammate Larry Sanders had bought him a pair of very expensive Gucci shoes for Christmas. Not more than two months later, it appears as if Sanders has rewarded the rookie again.
Man larry bought another Gucci shoes for me,this guy is something else..!!
— GiannisAntetokounmpo (@G_ante34) February 4, 2014
NBA players lead unique lives, you guys.
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