Bucks 109, Knicks 95: Last word

NEW YORK — The Milwaukee Bucks used a big third quarter to pull away from the New York Knicks for a 109-95 win at Madison Square Garden on Christmas Day

Player of the Game: Giannis Antetokounmpo


Who else could it be? The Bucks two-time All-Star scored 30 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in his Christmas Day debut. Using a variety of mid-range jumpers and his largely unstoppable game around the basket, Antetokounmpo gave a nationwide audience a glance at what makes him so special.

The good: Defense

For a third-straight game, Milwaukee held its opponent below 40-percent shooting from the field. The Knicks managed to hit just 36.5-percent of their shots, a significant change from the 53.1-percent they hit in their win over Milwaukee the last time the two teams met.

The not so good: Outside shooting

At one point on Tuesday the Bucks missed 17 straight 3-pointers and for the game they went 6-for-32 from beyond the arc. It continued a recent trend for a team that shoots — and has made — the second-most 3s in the NBA this year. Over the last seven games, Milwaukee has shot below 30-percent from deep four times.

Stat of the game: 5

That’s how many Bucks scored in double digits, including Thon Maker. He was extremely productive, getting 12 points in 15 minutes of action.

What they said:

“Yes. Hopefully we can play many more years to come. This is one of the highest stages. Special teams play on Christmas Day. It’s an opportunity for us. We’re really happy and it’s a big honor for us to represent the Milwaukee Bucks and the city of Milwaukee in a Christmas game.”

Antetokounmpo talking about how special it was to play on Christmas Day

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Antetokounmpo was asked about this play afterward. Here’s part of his response:

“I was so excited I went a little bit too high and I thought the rim was a foot taller. That’s why I missed it.

He later added, “Please tell the NBA to give me an assist.”

In Case You Missed It:

— The game marked the first time the Bucks played on Christmas Day since 1977.

— Antetokounmpo did not get an opportunity to get revenge on Mario Hezonja, who famously dunked and stepped over him the last time the two teams met. Henzonja was a healthy scratch.

— According to guard George Hill, the Bucks organization flew the families of players into New York to spend the holiday with them.

What’s next?

Milwaukee (23-10) heads home after a 2-1 road trip to face the Knicks (9-26) once again on Thursday at Fiserv Forum.