MILWAUKEE — Mike Budenholzer, after interviewing for the Knicks’ vacant coaching job, opted to head to the relaxing atmosphere of the Midwest away from the traffic jams and high pressure. Then he got caught in traffic Monday and had to push his pregame interview back a half-hour.
“I thought I left it,” Budenholzer joked. “Never happen again the rest of the year, right?”
Budenholzer wasn’t offered the Knicks’ job, which went to David Fizdale, but quickly moved to accept the Bucks’ job with a ready-to-contend team built around one of the brightest young stars, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“Well, I definitely interviewed, so I can’t lie or deny that,” Budenholzer said. “Past that, I’m in Milwaukee and I couldn’t be more excited about the team here. I feel fortunate with the situation I’m in, the team, the organization, the city. It’s been beyond everything I’d hoped for and expected. Best to Fiz and the Knicks and those guys. A lot of respect for them.”
Fizdale praised the job that Budenholzer already has done in expanding Antetokounmpo’s game.
“Bud has really opened up their game,” Fizdale said. “These guys are shooting 40 threes a night. I don’t know what position you call Giannis, to be honest with you. He can guard everybody. He can play every single position — post, wing, point guard. He can definitely be a generational player when this is all said and done.”
The Knicks were without Kevin Knox (ankle), Courtney Lee (neck spasms) and Emmanuel Mudiay (ankle). Only Mudiay traveled with the team, and he hopes to be back soon after suffering a sprained ankle in the last practice of preseason. “We’ll see,” he said. “Feeling pretty good right now, walking a lot better. No set date, but feel like a couple days will be good. I did some things today. That’s a step forward for sure, so we’re going in the right direction.”
Allonzo Trier is the first Knicks rookie to post at least 15 points in his first two career games at Madison Square Garden since Willis Reed . . . Enes Kanter is the first Knicks player since Zach Randolph in the 2007-08 season to have three consecutive double-doubles to start a season.