The New York Knicks lost their quarterfinal matchup of the NBA In-Season Tournament against the Milwaukee Bucks, 146-122, ending their run in the tournament. While it wasn't a blowout to right away, it felt like the Bucks had control of this game for the majority of the way.
The game stayed close in the first half but the Bucks were finally able to show the difference in talent between the two squads with a decisive victory. Before looking at what the Knicks can do to improve, let's first look into why the team lost this game.
3. Horrible 3-point defense
The perimeter defense for the New York Knicks in this game was extremely awful. For a team that is pretty good at defending the 3-point shot, the Knicks ended up giving up a lot of open shots to the Bucks. Milwaukee would end up shooting 60 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.
While a lot of defense has to be focused on inside action created by Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo's play, Tom Thibodeau probably should have found a way to guard these two elite players without giving up wide-open 3-point shots. Yes, a defense has to give up something but the team never really adjusted from the Bucks getting open looks from the 3-point line.
2. Poor play from R.J Barrett
While R.J. Barrett ended up with 20+ points, it was not a nice night for the former third-overall pick. Barrett had to take 18 shots to get to his 20 points. He only ended up making seven of those shots with a lot of his points coming from the free-throw line. Barrett has seemed to struggle from the shooting woes in the last couple of games.
This hasn't been a good shooting season for a player who many at times thought to be a emerging star in this league. His play in recent weeks has caused many to question whether Barrett will ever turn the corner and become a star in this league. In this crucial game, he didn't look like it at all.
1. Poor 3-point shooting
While the Knicks had very poor perimeter defense in this game, their three-point shooting on the other end was a lot worse. The team ended up getting some late-minute 3s in order to boost their percentage but New York still ended up shooting 30 percent from the arc.
One of the worst offenders of this was Jalen Brunson who went 0-for-5 from the 3-point line. Brunson had a good game outside of his 3-point shooting but wasn't able to save the Knicks without hitting from deep. Immanuel Quickley was another player who struggled, hitting just 1-of-4.
Unlike Brunson, his inside game would not compensate as that lone 3-point shot was the only one of his seven shots that went in. The loss against Bucks proved once again that this good team is still a long way from great.