So, things haven't exactly gone as planned on this road trip, huh?
The dangers of penciling in wins for an up-and-coming-but-still-definitely-unproven team have been revealed, and now the Milwaukee Bucks own a five-game losing streak on the road entering a date with the NBA's best team. If there's a time to make a statement showing the league Milwaukee's start wasn't a lengthy mirage, tonight is the night. But it's going to take one heck of an inspired effort.
O.J. Mayo sat out last night's loss in Denver as he continues to deal with a sore hamstring. He's listed as questionable for tonight's game.
Leandro Barbosa could miss the game due to a respiratory infection that kept him out of the Warriors' loss in Brooklyn on Monday.
The Four Factors of basketball success are often presented in equal standing, but in reality it's more like the One Big Factor and the Three Other Moderately Important Factor. Shooting is paramount to basketball success, and the Golden State Warriors are number one in effective field goal percentage on offense and defense. They also force opponents into turnovers at a pretty decent rate, but other than that nothing jumps out. They're actually below average in rebounding, and 27th in the NBA in offensive free-throw rate. In short, these guys rely on making lots of high-efficiency shots. If they're not making shots, they're vulnerable.
Now if only somebody could figure out how to stop them from making shots.
Key Matchup: Khris Middleton vs. Klay Thompson
I've seen comparisons between Middleton and Thompson popping up around the web, and it's not an unfounded pairing. They do many of the same things, they have similar physical profiles, and Middleton is following in Thompson's footsteps to a certain extent as he tries to expand his game beyond being "just a shooter." Now, I've also seen suggestions that maybe Middleton is already a better player than Thompson, which I'm just not ready to get on board with, RPM leaderboards notwithstanding.
In any case, if the Bucks are going to stand any chance tonight, they're going to need a strong individual defensive performance from Middleton to keep Thompson from lighting them up. And on offense, Middleton has to hit some outside shots to give the Bucks space to work near the basket. Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut are dominant enough on their own without the rest of the Warriors squad collapsing down into the paint on every drive.
|14/15 NBA Season|
|March 4th, 2015|
|ORACLE Arena | Oakland, CA
|Fox Sports Wisconsin | 620 WTMJ|
|Michael Carter-Williams||PG||Stephen Curry|
|Khris Middleton||SG||Klay Thompson|
|Giannis Antetokounmpo||SF||Harrison Barnes|
|Ersan Ilyasova||PF||Draymond Green|
|Zaza Pachulia||C||Andrew Bogut|
|2014/15 Advanced Stats|
On the Warriors: Golden State of Mind