Even if the stage isn’t in the “World’s Most Famous Arena,” Giannis Antetokounmpo seems to love playing against the New York Knicks.
Antetokounmpo scored 31 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, dished out eight assists and blocked four shots to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 112-96 victory over the Knicks Thursday night at Fiserv Forum. With the performance, Antetokounmpo reached the 30-point mark in all four games against the Knicks this season, as the Bucks took the season series, 3-1.
Antetokounmpo had plenty of helps, too, as the Bucks improved to 24-10.
Khris Middleton made 10 of 17 shots for a 25-point performance, center Brook Lopez added 17 points and Malcolm Brogdon chipped in 15. Second-year forward D.J. Wilson continued his meteoric rise with 10 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks in 21 minutes off the bench.
Luke Kornet led New York with 23 points, making 7 of 11 3-pointers. Kornet’s father, Frank, played two seasons with the Bucks from 1989-91. Frank Kornet made 10 3-pointers in his two seasons.
The Knicks (9-27) remained uncomfortably close for 2 1/2 quarters. Noah Vonleh’s 3-pointer pulled them within 71-69 with 6:13 left in the third, and they were still within 74-71 on Emmanuel Mudiay’s jumper 4:50 left in the third. At that point, the Knicks were 10 for 21 on 3-pointers. They made 20 of 34 3-pointers in a 136-134 overtime victory over the Bucks on Dec. 1.
Wilson stopped the New York momentum by tipping in his own miss and adding a free throw for a 3-point play. That started the Bucks on a 13-4 run. Wilson added a 3-pointer in the run, and two free throws by Antetokounmpo gave the Bucks an 87-75 lead before the Knicks cut it to 87-77 entering the fourth quarter.
New York quickly cut it to 87-82 on a 3-pointer by Damyean Dotson and a put-back by Enes Kanter, but Kanter earned an ejection moments later after an altercation with Antetokounmpo.
Antetokounmpo made a jumper and a finger-roll layup to push the Bucks back to a 91-82 lead. The Bucks star then led a fast break and ran into Kanter driving to the hoop. Nothing was called as Kanter’s left arm clubbed Antetokounmpo in the face. Antetokounmpo got up and the two glared at each other and then went face against face. Officials went to replay with 9:56 left and assessed Kanter two technicals and Antetokounmpo one.
Brogdon made the technical to restore a 10-point lead, and Antetokounmpo made two more free throws a half-minute later to make it 94-82. The Knicks never got closer than nine the rest of the way and were never closer than 11 in the last eight minutes.