Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks works against Julius...

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks works against Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022 in New York City. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Knicks fans got to see Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo play at the Garden on Wednesday night and will get to see the NBA’s leading scorer, Dallas’ Luka Doncic, on Saturday. 

It’s always a treat to see the best players in the world. Sadly, it’s also a reminder to Knicks fans that they still don’t have a true superstar and instead are mostly relying on the very good trio of Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle and RJ Barrett to bring them to the promised land. 

Antetokounmpo didn’t disappoint, scoring a game-high 37 points before fouling out with 59.7 seconds left in the Bucks’ 109-103 victory. 

But it was Grayson Allen who broke a tie at 103 with the go-ahead three-pointer with 30.9 seconds left to break the Knicks’ hearts. 

Antetokounmpo’s sixth foul came against Mitchell Robinson with the Knicks trailing 103-101. Robinson, a 44% free throw shooter, hit the first and missed the second.

But Robinson got his own rebound — his 20th of the game to go along with 15 points. 

Brunson, who left the game less than two minutes in with an ankle injury before returning late in the first quarter, was fouled and hit the second of two free throws to tie the score at 103. 

Brunson, a 90.1% free throw shooter, missed three of four foul shots in the game.

But Allen hit a three-pointer over Barrett. Barrett missed a potential three-pointer on the next possession and Jrue Holiday (22 points) hit a pair of free throws to seal it for Milwaukee (15-5). 

“Hard-fought game,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Make or miss in our league. We missed . . . I liked the way we competed. I thought we did a lot of good things.”

Brunson, who had been nursing a quad injury, limped to the locker room less than two minutes into the game with what appeared to be an ankle issue. But he returned to the court with 4:54 left to go in the first quarter and finished with 17 points. 

Barrett led the Knicks (10-12) with 26 points. Randle, who scored a season-high 36 points on his birthday on Tuesday, had 18. 

The Knicks, who beat the Pistons in Detroit on Tuesday, 140-110, appeared to be the fresher team early as they sped out to an 18-11 lead. 

But the Bucks, who hadn’t played since Sunday, used a quarter-ending 11-2 run with Antetokounmpo on the bench to go into the second quarter with a 22-20 lead. 

The spread was still two points at halftime as Milwaukee led, 47-45, despite shooting 37.3% from the field and 18.2% on three-pointers. It wasn’t really anything the Knicks were doing; the Bucks were getting good looks and were missing most of them. 

Back-and-forth play continued in the third quarter as the Knicks used hustle to deal with the Bucks’ muscle. The Knicks contested for every rebound and loose ball, but still trailed going into the fourth at 74-71. 

The Bucks are 14-0 when leading after three quarters. 

The Knicks would not go away. But neither could they get ahead in losing their third straight home heartbreaker. 

“I thought we had a good chance to win,” Thibodeau said. “Sometimes you fall short,”

Thibodeau — who two years ago said adding a superstar is “critical” in the NBA — is forging ahead with a team that was 10-11 going into Wednesday and a front office that has yet to land a true superstar for him to coach.

“The thing is, I like the young guys that we do have,” Thibodeau said. “I’m looking at what Jalen has done in the fourth quarter — he’s one of the top players in the fourth quarter. I think Julius has had big moments for us. RJ’s had big moments. So you look at the players that you have and you want them to continue to improve. Hopefully we can get there.” 

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