NEW YORK (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo could feel the Bucks playing with more energy and could sense a shift in their confidence on their 3-point shots.
“Once we made one, then we made the second one,” he said. “Then we made the third one.”
And pretty soon, their 17-point deficit was gone.
Antetokounmpo had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Milwaukee rallied in the second half and beat the New York Knicks 111-107 on Monday night.
Joe Ingles added a season-high 17 points and Brook Lopez also scored 17 for the Bucks, who made 12 3-pointers after falling behind 70-53 with five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
“I think in the long run we’re going to make a lot of those shots,” Ingles said.
Lopez made one that snapped a 97-all tie before Jrue Holiday — forced to the bench after committing three fouls in the first 4 1/2 minutes — scored five straight Milwaukee points. The Bucks closed it out at the free throw line to snap the Knicks’ four-game winning streak and bounce back nicely after allowing a season-worst 51 points in the first quarter of their loss to Charlotte on Friday.
Jalen Brunson scored a career-high 44 points for the Knicks, adding seven assists. Julius Randle had 25 points, 16 rebounds and five assists, but was just 1 for 12 from 3-point range.
The Knicks were hoping to continue streaking to the midpoint of their schedule, having followed an eight-game winning streak and a five-game skid with four straight victories. They fell to 22-19.
Ingles, who didn’t play for the Bucks until last month after missing the first 29 games recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee, helped fuel the comeback with five 3-pointers.
“It’s nice to finish a game, it’s nice to be in those situations obviously,” Ingles said.
Randle finally made a 3-pointer after an 0-for-9 first half on the first possession of the third quarter, and his free throws capped a 13-2 spurt midway through the period that extended a six-point lead to 70-53.
The Knicks still led by 16 after Randle’s three-point play with 2:25 remaining, but didn’t make another basket in the quarter as Milwaukee closed with a 13-2 run of its own to trim it to 78-73.
Obi Toppin opened the fourth with a 3-pointer, but Lopez, Grayson Allen and Ingles followed with three in a row for Milwaukee to give the Bucks an 82-81 lead.
“I think we didn’t close the third out well and then the start of the fourth same thing, so that’s probably the biggest thing,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said.
Neither team led by more than three again until Holiday’s 3-pointer made it 103-99 with 47 seconds to play.
Brunson’s aggressive start quickly put Holiday in foul trouble, forcing him to the bench within 4 1/2 minutes. But the Bucks’ big men were much more effective defending Randle, who was 1 for 12, missing all eight 3-point attempts.
Brunson was just 1 for 6 in the second, but Immanuel Quickley stepped up with 13 points as the Knicks took a 51-46 lead to the break.
Bucks: Khris Middleton missed his 12th straight game. … Coach Mike Budenholzer said F/C Serge Ibaka, not with the team for personal reasons, would not rejoin the Bucks during the road trip.
Knicks: Thibodeau said F RJ Barrett, who has missed six games with a lacerated finger on his right hand, is “real close” to returning and the Knicks would see how he progresses Tuesday. Toppin played for the first time since Dec. 7 and scored three points. He had been inactive for 13 games with nondisplaced fracture of his right fibula, then didn’t play in either of the first two games after he was cleared to return.
Bucks: At Atlanta on Wednesday.
Knicks: Host Indiana on Wednesday.