Halloween has long passed but the New York Knicks are operating a haunted house.
Though the Knicks survived an early Jalen Brunson injury scare against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday, they were unable to stop Giannis Antetokounmpo from a 37-point, 13-rebound double-double. They were able to force Antetokounmpo to foul out but Grayson Allen's game-winning triple with just over 30 seconds remaining in regulation gave the Bucks a permanent lead in what became a 109-103 final.
With the loss, the Knicks (10-12) were unable to create their first winning streak since Nov. 15-16 and also dropped their fourth consecutive game at Madison Square Garden.
Wasted in the valiant effort against the current No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference was a strong shooting night for RJ Barrett, who shot 53 percent (8-of-15) from the field, his best effort at MSG since the last win on Nov. 11 against Detroit. Alas, the good vibes created by the struggling Barrett will likely be forgotten after he tried to follow up Allen's tiebreaker with a rushed triple attempt of his own, commencing the Bucks' finishing touches at the foul line.
Mitchell Robinson also pulled down a season-best 20 rebounds in defeat, one short of tying his career-best (though the 11 offensive boards he pulled down were enough for a personal record).
Had the Knicks not been burdened by the brutality of a losing streak at home, Wednesday could've been seen as a moral victory. Often done in by opponents' efforts from deep, the Knicks held the Bucks to 4-of-22 in the three-point department, including 0-of-2 from Allen, fresh off hitting seven in the first half of Milwaukee's Sunday victory over Dallas.
Alas for New York, they couldn't capitalize on Milwaukee's misfires, shooting 38 percent in the first half and 4-of-17 from deep. Barrett did what he could to salvage the effort by shooting 5-of-6 in the first half but it wasn't enough to counter a combined 5-of-20 for Brunson and Julius Randle.
The futility from deep continued in the third frame, as the sides shot a combined 2-of-11 from three-point range. But the final frame featured an offensive explosion, one headlined by each side's superstar, and one where neither team led by more than seven. Antetokounmpo put in 14 before his mandated departure while Brunson had 11. A final foul from Antetokounmpo put Robinson at the foul line with exactly a minute left. He sank one of two before getting his own offensive rebound, which eventually led to Brunson going to the line on a Jrue Holiday foul.
On a rare off night from the line for Brunson, however ... and perhaps a continuation of his clutch shooting struggles ... he likewise earned only half to cap off a 1-for-4 evening. Allen went on to earn his only triple of the night off a feed from Brook Lopez.
With the loss, New York fell to 0-2 against the Bucks (15-5) this season, with one final meeting scheduled for Jan. 9 in Milwaukee.
The Knicks' homestand continues on Saturday when the Dallas Mavericks come by for an early matinee (12:30 p.m. ET, MSG).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags
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