Knicks coach David Fizdale knew his struggling team faced a huge challenge against the streaking Milwaukee Bucks.
New York on Monday stumbled at the start and never had a chance as Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks won their 12th straight game in a 132-88 romp.
Antetokounmpo needed only 14 minutes on the court to record another double-double, finishing with 29 points and 15 rebounds.
Photo: Michael McLoone-USA Today
The Bucks won by 44 points after beating Charlotte by 41 on Saturday, the first time in franchise history they have posted back-to-back winning margins of 40 points or more. It was the fifth time it has been done in NBA history.
“I don’t feel we came in here with the idea we could beat this team,” Fizdale said. “That is what was most disappointing. They got whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. We never took a real stand.”
The Bucks (18-3) led by as many as 47points and cruised behind Antetokounmpo, who pulled down his 10th rebound with 4 minutes, 43 seconds left in the second quarter for his league-leading 20th double-double.
The reigning league Most Valuable Player shot 10 of 14 from the field, including three of four from three-point range, while playing 22 minutes.
He exited with nearly five minutes left in the third quarter and the Bucks ahead 93-54.
“I watch and listen to him lead his guys,” Fizdale said. “He’s just impressive. The league is in good hands, I know that, when you’ve got a guy like that at the top.”
Milwaukee’s winning streak is the longest in the NBA this season and the franchise’s best since the 1981-1982 season. The Bucks own the league’s top record, ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers (17-3).
“I think everybody shows up every day and they’re hungry,” Antetokounmpo said. “Nobody relaxes. We show up and do our job. We smile — we’re having fun about it and it’s nice. Usually teams tend to relax, but we don’t do that.”
The Knicks (4-17) posed little challenge as they shot just four of 24 in the first period.
D.J. Wilson added a career-high 19 points, Khris Middleton had 16 and George Hill 14 for the Bucks, who improved to 9-1 at home.
The only Antetokounmpo playing in the fourth quarter was Giannis’ older brother, Thanasis, who drew cheers from the crowd when he slipped in for a layup early in the period.
Thanasis Antetokounmpo, who was formerly a member of the Knicks, finished with 10 points and three assists.
“It was good for us to get everybody out on the court, have some other guys not play heavy minutes,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
Julius Randle paced New York with 19 points and Damyean Dotson had 15.
The Knicks shot 30.8 percent from the field (28 of 91) and made 25.6 percent of their three-point attempts (10 of 39).
Rookie guard R.J. Barrett was none of nine and limited to two points in 20 minutes.
Elsewhere, the Atlanta Hawks hammered the Golden State Warriors 104-79, the 76ers defeated the Jazz 103-94, the Pacers ground down the Grizzlies 117-104, the Bulls beat the Kings 113-106 and the Suns proved too hot for the Hornets in a 109-104 victory.
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