MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Bucks claimed another victory Thursday night with a 118-99 victory over the Golden State Warriors, continuing their trend to be their best this season against other title contenders.
The Bucks bombarded the Warriors from the start, jumping to a 39-point halftime lead, Golden State’s biggest halftime deficit since the franchise left Philadelphia.
Over the past week, the Bucks have won hands down against the Warriors and the Brooklyn Nets – whom they also beat on opening night in Milwaukee – a pair of teams they could see on the way to try to repeat as champions of the NBA.
“I don’t know why we play well in big games, but at the end of the day we just have to keep developing good habits to move forward,” said Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, who finished with 30 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in 30 minutes. “Big games with great excitement or even games that nobody watches, nobody cares, we have to continue to develop good habits, so that we can be good in May and June.”
Milwaukee had sacked coach Mike Budenholzer after clearing health and safety protocols, but was playing without goaltender Jrue Holiday, his best perimeter defender, who missed his fourth straight game with an ankle. Still, the Bucks managed to contain Warriors star Stephen Curry with a stifling defensive effort.
Curry was 4 of 11 shots in the game (2 for 6 of 3) for 12 points. He’s shot less than 50% from the field in eight straight games, the longest streak of his career, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Golden State finished 3-for-14 from the field with three turnovers and seven points when the Bucks sent a double team to Curry.
“Milwaukee are a good team. They obviously have the DNA of the Championship now,” said Curry, “and present challenges in terms of pressure on the inside end and spacing. We just had a terrible start where it all started. went wrong. “
The Warriors have lost four of their last five total games and Curry is mired in one of the worst shooting slumps of his career, but they weren’t panicking about their recent slip-up.
“To be honest, I’m not that worried,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game. “I know we just got our ass kicked. We’re just having a tough time in our season. It happens to every team, every year or so, with a few exceptions. We’re in a bit of a rut. we played a team that was ready and played really well … And so we’re a little uncomfortable, and we just have to get back on track. “
Golden State will face the Bulls in the second half of a back-to-back game on Friday night in Chicago. Klay Thompson, who scored 11 points on 3 of 11 shots in 21 minutes, is not expected to play as the Warriors are bringing him back to action after missing more than two years with injury.
The Bucks, meanwhile, have continued to compete in some of the league’s fiercest competitions due to Antetokounmpo’s dominating performances.
On Thursday, Antetokounmpo finished a perfect 9 against 9 inside the restricted zone with four dunks. He scored on four different main defenders (including 4 against 4 against Andre Iguodala) and managed his seven wide-opening shots. Even when the Warriors forced him to pass, he regularly read the right way – the Bucks shot 11 of 16 (30 points) on Antetokounmpo’s passes, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
“My state of mind is that I have something that I’m going to take. I’m not going to guess it,” Antetokounmpo said. “If someone’s wide open, I’ll try to give them that ball. If I can’t, I’ll see the rest. I always try to be in the moment. But have a strong mindset. , an aggressive mindset, that’s how I start the game. That’s what I think about in every possession. “