NEW YORK — The Milwaukee Bucks will travel to Madison Square Garden to face the New York Knicks for the opening game of five NBA matchups on the Christmas Day schedule on Tuesday.
The Bucks will play on Christmas Day for the first time since the 1977-78 season.
Tuesday’s clash is the third of the four battles this term, with the current series leveled at 1-1 after the teams split the opening two encounters.
Milwaukee (22-10) won the first game 124-113 at home on Oct. 22, while New York returned home to steal Game 2 136-134 in overtime.
Bucks’ , who is currently averaging career-highs 26.2 points and 12.8 rebounds, had 33 points and 19 rebounds in his last visit to Madison Square Garden and he’s looking forward to the rematch, especially the one with Knicks forward Mario Hezonja.
Besides the defeat, Antetokounmpo was outraged at Hezonja, who dunked on the Milwaukee star in the first quarter of the last game and then gazed at and stepped over the ‘Greek Freak’.
“I’m going to punch him in the (groin) next time,” recalled Antetokounmpo, who is a regular season MVP candidate.
ESPN will provide live broadcast of the Game 2 on Christmas Day, starting at 12:00 PM ET, while WatchESPN will stream the action online.
The Bucks have a 78.6 percent chance to win this game, according to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index.
New York (9-25) will be playing for the third successive year on Christmas Day – having lost 105-98 last year to the Philadelphia 76ers and 119-114 to the Boston Celtics the previous year.
In fact, the Knicks have not been fruitful on Christmas Day – losing their last five games – with defeats to Washington (2014), Oklahoma City (2013) and Los Angeles (2012) adding to the above defeats.
The last time New York won on Dec. 25 was in the 2011-12 abbreviated season when it beat the Celtics in the season opener.
It will be the fifth time in franchise history Milwaukee will feature on Christmas Day and the team holds a 2-2 record all-time on this day.
The Bucks are coming off a 94-87 defeat at the Miami Heat on Saturday night, but have won four of the last five games.
New York, which has been playing without star forward Kristaps Porzingis, who is rehabbing from a torn ACL,
NEW YORK KNICKS
Kristaps Porzingis, PF Out Dec 21 Allonzo Trier, SG Out Dec 23 Mitchell Robinson, C Out Dec 23
Ersan Ilyasova, PF Out Dec 22 Malcolm Brogdon, PG Day-To-Day Dec 22