Knicks Must Beat the Bucks Tonight As They Chase .500
Tonight is a must-win game in that the Knicks must win this game to have a realistic shot at a 40+ win season (this year’s realistic goal). You can’t go 1–3 against the underachieving Bucks on the year, and you can’t follow up your best performance of the year with a shart.
You know how many times the Knicks have faced sub. 500 times three times in a row this year? Zero. Back-to-back? Just two different times. The extremely tough schedule finally gets easier the next two weeks as the Knicks face four sub-.500 teams in their next six games:
Boston and Memphis are just two games over .500 and both are very winnable games. If they go 4–2 in this stretch, they’re at .500 with another tough stretch and another easy stretch before the playoffs.
But they can’t let off the pedal and they have to take care of the Bucks today. This is how that happens:
- Punch Them in the Jaw Early: Don’t let a desperate team coming off a big win (1-point against Dallas) get hot and confident in the Garden early. Play physical, don’t chuck up threes, and do not let Monroe get comfortable.
- Bench Calderon: Jose is starting to make me miss Iman Shumpert, and he makes Ray Felton look like Tony Allen. Guy can’t guard his own shadow, and the Knicks got crushed by Carter-Williams last time. They’ve got to stop him and Bayless from penetrating, and force them into jumpers.
- Feed Kris and D-Will: Melo has the tough matchup today against the Greek Freek. Get Kris the ball, and let him go to work on Parker (easy money) or force Monroe to come out. D-Will put up 24 in the opener against the Bucks, but wasn’t playing big minutes the last two meetings. Let him loose, get him the ball off misses, and let him run.