Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks: Predictions, Starting Lineups (12/23/23)

The Milwaukee Bucks (21-7) meet the New York Knicks (16-11) this Saturday (12/23/23). Get Bucks vs. Knicks moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchups below.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks Prediction

Mitchell Robinson’s season-ending injury is a devastating blow to New York’s defense. He remains the only player to rank top twenty in both block and steal percentage, and his length was the source of New York’s rim protection. Without him, the Knicks will bleed quality looks at the rim and also lose their elite rebounding advantage.

Enter Giannis Antetokounmpo, who leads the NBA in restricted area field goal attempts per game. Nobody attacks the rim like the “Greek Freak”, and he should dominate due to New York’s lackluster last line of defense.

Meanwhile, the Knicks allow the ninth largest off-the-dribble three-point frequency (per ShotQuality) because Jalen Brunson’s size gets him caught on high ball screens. Damian Lillard is a three-point maestro who owns a 46.9 3PT% on nine attempts per game during December. With Antetokounmpo and Lillard applying immense pressure on both ends of the half-court, New York’s defense likely snaps. Factor in Khris Middleton’s self-created scoring and their three-point shooters, and Milwaukee’s offense is set to throw a punch worthy of Mike Tyson.

Do not count the Knicks out though, as they have avenues to exploit the Bucks. Jalen Brunson will bypass Milwaukee’s perimeter defense with ease, and Lopez’s backpedaling drop coverage leaves him vulnerable to mid-range jumpers. That’s the exact shot that Brunson weaponizes with tremendous success. Unsurprisingly, Brunson has averaged 37.7 points over his past three matchups against Milwaukee.

Finally, Immanuel Quickley’s microwave scoring will be an asset here against Milwaukee’s porous point-of-attack defense. He can lead the bench unit via scoring and potentially reduce a lead.

In the end, Milwaukee’s offense will be too strong for New York to overcome. The Knicks can put up a fight, but backing the Bucks is wise here.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks Prediction: Bucks -2 & Moneyline

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Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks Best Odds

The Bucks are slight two-point favorites in this matchup; it’s worth noting that they are 22nd in cover percentage. New York needs to win about 46 percent of the time for their +118 moneyline to be profitable in the long run.

Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineup

PG: Damian Lillard
SG: Malik Beasley
SF: Khris Middleton
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
C: Brook Lopez

New York Knicks Starting Lineup

PG: Jalen Brunson
SG: Donte DiVincenzo
SF: RJ Barrett
PF: Julius Randle
C: Isaiah Hartenstein

Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks Injuries

Giannis Antetokounmpo and MarJon Beauchamp are both probable, although Jae Crowder remains out for the foreseeable future. The Knicks, on the other hand, will be missing centers Mitchell Robinson and Jericho Sims. DaQuan Jeffries is also questionable.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks Key Matchups

RJ Barrett Scoring

If New York is going to match Milwaukee’s offense, then they desperately need a third source of production to complement Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle. RJ Barrett was supposed to be that guy, but he hasn’t stepped up to the plate this season. Barrett owns a forgettable 42.6 FG% and 34.3 3PT%, which is not efficient enough to scare opposing defenses.

His self-creation game has not achieved lift off in the slightest either. Barrett only averages 1.8 pull-up field goal attempts per game, where he shoots a ghastly 28.2 effective field goal percentage. Barrett must evolve quickly, or New York cannot realistically compete against the titans of the East.

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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