Last shots: Bucks 120, Knicks 112

Milwaukee – Fourteen last shots for the 14 free throws attempted by Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee’s 120-112 win over New York on Friday night.

1. All wins are good wins. Let’s put that out first and foremost. There’s no such thing as a bad win in the NBA.


2. With that being said, there are certainly better wins than this one. The Bucks used a terrific fourth quarter to jump in front of the Knicks on Friday night. Before the final period, however, things weren’t great for the Bucks.

3. Entering the fourth, Milwaukee led New York 91-89. They opened up the period on a 21-7 run to take command of the game at 112-96. New York fought back to cut the deficit as close as eight with 1:05 remaining.

4. This is the type of game that Milwaukee has had no trouble winning since interim head coach Joe Prunty took over the team in late January. The Bucks are 9-1 against teams that currently have losing records in that time. It’s the quality teams that the Bucks have struggled with, going 3-8 in that same stretch against teams with winning records.

5. Friday night was no different. The fourth quarter saw a big performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo as he had 13 of his 28 points during it. That included a 7-of-9 mark from the free throw line.

6. In the fourth, Milwaukee went a stretch where their focus was to set Antetokounmpo in isolation on the left wing and attack the basket. He did so successfully, and that shows by all three of his makes from the floor coming within six feet of the rim as well as his frequent trips to the foul line.

7. Antetokounmpo was helped out plenty in the fourth by Khris Middleton as well. He had eight of his game-high 30 points in the final period. Middleton had one of his best games in recent memory, as he was a very efficient 11-of-16 from the floor.

8. It’s early-to-mid March right now, and the Bucks are in no danger of missing the playoffs currently. That being said, this was a must-win game for Milwaukee, and the next three games are as well.

9. The Knicks, at one point in time had playoff aspirations for this season. That goal was finished the exact second forward Kristaps Porzingis tore his ACL against the Bucks in New York in early February. Now, New York is hoping for the highest draft pick possible in the 2018 NBA Draft in June. The Knicks have now lost 14 of their last 15 games. They’ve won a single game since Porzingis was injured, and that was against the Orlando Magic, another team glued to the bottom of the NBA.

10. The Bucks needed this game, after finishing a stretch of eight out of nine games against teams with winning records. Milwaukee went 2-7, with the wins coming on the road in overtime against Toronto and at home against Philadelphia.

11. Milwaukee started a stretch of four straight games against teams below .500 on Friday night with the Knicks. The Bucks now head on the road to take on the Memphis Grizzles and Orlando Magic before returning home next Saturday against the Atlanta Hawks. As of this writing, those teams have a combined winning percentage of .295 on the season. The Magic and Hawks are the two teams at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, and the Grizzles are the current bottom feeders in the Western Conference.

12. All three of the remaining games in this stretch are games that need to be won by Milwaukee. After Atlanta, Milwaukee heads to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers. Cleveland has been up and down on the season, but LeBron James and company are always a challenge for the Bucks.

13. Again, it’s always good to get a win, especially when a team has struggled to get them as of late. Milwaukee needs to be able to beat good teams before anyone begins to believe in them.

14. The Bucks are back in action on Monday night in Memphis against the Grizzles.