Williams scores 24, Knicks beat Bucks 122-97 in opener
MILWAUKEE (AP) — New faces, different result for the New York Knicks.
Maybe this season won’t be as dreary as last year for Carmelo Anthony and the new-look Knicks.
Derrick Williams scored 24 points and 20-year-old Kristaps Porzingis had 16 in his NBA debut, leading New York over the Milwaukee Bucks 122-97 on Wednesday night in the season opener for each team.
The Knicks pulled away with a 15-0 run between the first and second quarters. The lead rarely dipped below double digits over the game’s final 30 minutes.
And the runaway win came with Anthony scoring just 11 points on 4-of-16 shooting.
“They jumped out on us early,” Anthony said. “We kept our composure, got through that point, calmed down and took off from there.”
Williams got easy looks under the basket to help New York open a 12-point halftime lead. The reserve forward started the fourth quarter with a dunk off an alley-oop pass from rookie Jerian Grant that made it 92-73.
The Knicks are hoping a revamped roster surrounding Anthony will help them rebound from a franchise-worst 65-loss season. For one night at least, they got off to a nice start against one of the league’s up-and-coming teams.
Greg Monroe led the Bucks with 22 points and 14 rebounds.
“The one combination that worked was Moose. He played well tonight. No one joined him,” coach Jason Kidd said.
Point guard Michael Carter-Williams scored 20 points, but had six turnovers, all after the first quarter.
Defensively, the Bucks had too many lapses in the paint, especially in the first half.
Willliams was 8 of 17 from the field and 7 of 9 from the foul line. The 7-foot-3 Porzingis was 3 of 11 from the field and 9 of 12 from the line.
“I think we were lackadaisical on defense tonight. We were disorganized,” Carter-Williams said. “We’ve just got to go back to the drawing board.”
Langston Galloway hurt the Bucks with three 3s in the third quarter, including two near the end of the period. Galloway finished with 16 points, and joined Williams in a productive night for the Knicks’ reserves.
“They have a comfort level and the trust with each other even though it’s early,” coach Derek Fisher said about his backups.
The Bucks played without their projected starting frontcourt. Jabari Parker isn’t expected back from a left knee injury for at least another couple weeks, while Giannis Antetokounmpo served his one-game suspension for shoving Chicago’s Mike Dunleavy in the playoffs last season.
Kidd wasn’t using their absences as an excuse.
“We’ve got pieces that are going to be in and out, playing 15 minutes here and there,” Kidd said. “Understanding that when Jabari comes back, it’s not going to be playing 30 minutes back. When Giannis comes back, we can’t just say we lost because of Giannis.”
Knicks: Porzingis, the fourth overall pick, became the first rookie to start on opening night for the Knicks since Landry Fields and Timofey Mozgov in 2010-11. He looked nervous early on with the way he mishandled a few passes into the post.
But overall, Fisher liked Porzingis’ versatility and aggression on offense to get to the foul line.
“The most important thing is that we got the win,” Porzingis said. “I tried to play hard and help the team every way possible.”
Bucks: First-round pick Rashad Vaughn, selected 17th overall, had 10 points in 13 minutes in a reserve role.
Knicks: Anthony, a 12-year veteran and the longest-tenured Knick, made his fifth straight opening night start for New York. ... G Arron Afflalo, a free-agent pick-up in the offseason, sat out with a strained left hamstring.
Bucks: Milwaukee also played without veteran guard O.J. Mayo, who has a strained right hamstring.
Knicks: Host Atlanta in their home opener on Thursday.
Bucks: Host Washington on Friday.
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