Nice Win. Devastating Loss. Mitch Breaks Foot. 6 Reasons Why NY 102 Milwaukee 96

The Knicks won a ho-hum game in Milwaukee on a Saturday night, but suffered a Devastating loss as Mitchell Robinson, just back from a broken hand — fell awkwardly to the floor (pushed by Brook Lopez) and broke his foot. It might be the end of the season for Mitch — with 26 games and less than 2 months left in the regular season (which ends May 16).

1. Robinson Breaks Foot

NY won its 3rd game in a row, and improved to 24-22 but who cared — the game itself became secondary on the mind after Robinson’s broken foot was announced during the game. Foot injuries are especially tricky for big men — Bill Walton and Greg Oden having had their careers ruined by them.

The Knicks will have to make sure Robinson’s injury is tended to correctly, and allowed to mend completely.

After the game, Robinson was not amused — and tweeted so; from the tweet it looks like he felt Lopez had pushed him in a dirty play. The replay revealed Lopez did indeed swing Robinson away with his arm while Robinson was off balance.

The players didn’t know of the broken-foot prognosis until after the game. On the postgame interview, Knick play-by-play guy Mike Breen casually asked Derrick Rose what he felt about the broken foot news, and devastated Rose — as Rose hadn’t heard yet.

Don’t invite Breen to visit your friend in the hospital.

Taj Gibson played 34 minutes at center and played well; what a tremendous pickup he’s been. Nerlens Noel played well at backup center — 11 rebounds and 3 blocks in 31 minutes. Before the game, news broke that the Knicks never had any interest in Andre Drummond, who was placed on waivers earlier in the day. By end of evening he hadn’t signed with anyone, so it was a matter of speculation if the Knicks would reenter the market for him — rumor had it he was about to sign with the Lakers. And DeMarcus Cousins is still out there without a team.

2. Ho Hum Win Due to Injuries

The win was ho hum because Giannis Antetokounmpo was out injured, as was Milwaukee #2 star Khris Middleton, star shooter Dante DiVincenzo, star shooting guard Jrue Holliday, 1st-man-off-bench Bobby Portis, and backup point guard DJ Augustin. Milwaukee put a team of reserves on the court with Brooke Lopez.

The Knicks were missing their All Star Julius Randle, as well as starter Reggie Bullock, and then, after 6 minutes, Mitchell Robinson.

3. Knicks Figured Out the Zone

Milwaukee is a super well-coached team by Mike Budenholzer.ย On Defense, Budenholzer deployed a Zone defense — All Night.

Walt Frazier on the post game, incredulously asked Derrick Rose if he’d ever seen anything like that — an NBA team playing a Zone defense all night long — because he hadn’t. Rose agreed he hadn’t and said the Knicks just had to figure it out, which they eventually did. Rose said it felt like playing an AAU game.

4. Milwaukee Stayed in It With 3’s

Milwaukee stayed in this game, and in fact took a small lead late in the 3rd quarter, because their no-name reserves hit 3 after 3 all night even with the Knicks guarding the 3 well. The Greek Freak’s brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo started and had a career night — 23 points on 8-15 shooting, 4-5 from 3. Jordan Nwora started at forward and shot 4-8 from 3; Pat Connaughton shot 3-6 from 3 off the bench. NY held Bryn Forbes — who had killed them from 3 in previous games this season — to 1-6 shooting from 3.

5. Barrett & Burks Carry NY

RJ Barrett had another good game — muscling NY to the win with aggressiveness and confidence. He shot 8-22 (3-10 from 3) for 21 points, and played his usual tough 2-way game — 7 rebounds, and 7 assists.

And the Knicks would not have won without the 2-way play of Alec Burks, their poor-man’s Kobe Bryant. He lit it up for 21 points on 7-13 shooting (6-12 from 3), 10 rebounds and 5 assists.

6. All Knick Point Guards Healthy

Derrick Rose was back from COVID-related family issues, and led the Knicks for most of the 2nd half — 13 points in 29 minutes.

Elfrid Payton started and led NY to an early lead; when he came back in NY gave up their lead. He finished with 9 points on 4-7 shooting in 15 minutes — his minutes probably kept short by Thibs because Payton is still coming off the hamstring injury.

Immanuel Quickley got 26 minutes and looked good distributing in the 4th quarter. He shot 4-14 (4-10 from 3) for 13 points, 5 assists and a +1.

Other Knicks

With so many players out, Obi Toppin and Kevin Knox got a lot of daylight. Both played well.

Obi Toppin scored 6 points on 3-4 shooting in 7 minutes, electrifying that end of Knicks Twitter.

Kevin Knox knocked down a 3 and had 5 points and a +8 in 12 minutes. He was out there at the end of the 3rd and into the 4th when the Knicks took command.

With Rose and Payton back, Frank Ntilikina did not play.

The Boxscore

https://www.espn.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=401307484

 

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