Bucks aim to bring dominance over Knicks into second half of season

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images.)
NBAE via Getty Images

The Milwaukee Bucks’ second half of the season begins Tuesday night.

Milwaukee comes into the clash with a 35-6 record, the best mark through 41 games in the 52 years of the franchise’s existence. The Bucks are also just one of 14 teams in NBA history to win 35+ games by the midway mark of a season.

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The second half will launch with a cupcake matchup against the New York Knicks, a team that is still suffering from striking out on two big free agents last offseason — Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irvin — and owns the third-worst record in the NBA at 11-29.

The Knicks, who just snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over Miami on Sunday, might be prepping for another thrashing in Milwaukee.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks have handed New York blowout losses the previous two meetings this season, a 132-88 drubbing on Dec. 2 and a 123-102 defeat on Dec. 21.

That’s an average of a 32.5-point differential, which is the second-biggest margin in the NBA among teams that have played each other a minimum of two games. Dallas has beaten Golden State twice by an average of 34.0 points.

Milwaukee has won nine of the past 10 matchups with the Knicks since the 2017-18 season, holding New York to 102.3 points per contest over that span.

Antetokounmpo has posted 20+ points and 10+ rebounds in 10 straight games against the Knicks, good for the longest active streak by any player against an opponent.

So, yes, on paper it looks like another blowout in Cream City.

NOTABLE

— Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton are the fourth-highest scoring duo in the NBA at 48.1 combined points per contest.

— Led by Julius Randall, RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, players aged 25 or younger are scoring 75.8% of the Knicks’ points this season.

— Randall, the Knicks’ 6-foot-8 center, is averaging 25.4 points and 11.1 rebounds per game in wins but 18.9 points and 9.7 boards per contest in losses.

Statistics courtesy Sportradar, basketball-reference.com