Though there was a slight glimmer of hope that the Bucks might be able to defeat a Steph Curry-less Warriors team, it was all for naught. Golden State came into a sellout Bradley Center, outperformed the Bucks scorers and pulled away with a 108-94 victory.
The energy that was in the building immediately transferred straight down to the floor, with both teams flying around at 100+ MPH. However, a deep buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Nick Young put the Warriors ahead by nine heading into the second period, 36-27.
The firepower from the Warriors would begin to pick up pace in the second quarter, with everyone chipping in on possessions down the floor. Milwaukee couldn’t find many ways to keep up, and a Draymond Green dunk in the closing seconds was a punch in the gut. At the end of the first half, Golden State maintained a 63-49 lead.
The Bucks came alive in the third quarter, thanks in large part to open shooting. When the 12 minutes were up, they were up by two going into the final period of play. Unfortunately, the Warriors defense entered lockdown mode and from there, it was done and dusted.
Nobody reached 30 points on the night for either team. For Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo was the leading scorer with 23 points. Eric Bledsoe posted 21 points and Malcolm Brogdon helped with 17 in his starting role.
Kevin Durant highlighted Golden State’s efforts, contributing with 26 points (though it seemed like way more). Draymond Green fell next in line with 21, while Klay Thompson was held to 12 points. Milwaukee native Kevon Looney came off the bench and mixed in nine points.
Khris Middleton was absent.
If you see Khris Middleton on the back of a milk carton, it’s because he was nowhere to be found last night. A key part to the Bucks offense was stalled as he only finished with eight points (which was achieved on 2-of-8 shooting). When he stalls, the entire offense stalls. It seems that the offensive flow tries too much to work through him and that’s where things begin to be forced. The biggest difference between the Bucks and Warriors is the consistent scoring. Hopefully, Jabari Parker can alleviate that strain once he returns.
I have zero idea why Matthew Dellevadova was on the court in the fourth.
There’s always something Jason Kidd does that sours the grapes of Bucks fans, and last night, it was the playing of Matthew Dellavedova:
I’m ready for Bledsoe to replace Delly.— Frank (@fmaddenNBA) January 13, 2018
UPDATE: As the Bucks offense continues to sink into the abyss, I’m *still* ready for Bledsoe to replace Delly. https://t.co/kV6VCqzKyV— Frank (@fmaddenNBA) January 13, 2018
Ah, yes. It seemed as if Jason Kidd was trying to ride the frustration Dellavedova inflicted against Golden State back in the 2015 Finals (except Steph Curry was out of this game). But really, who knows the final score of this game if Eric Bledsoe received even half of those minutes.
Malcolm Brogdon did a pretty good job defending Klay Thompson.
We all know how many weapons Golden State has at their disposal. Klay Thompson, who can catch fire like a pile of wool, never really got that chance yesterday. For the majority of the game, he was defended by Malcolm Brogdon, who assisted in limiting his stat line to just 12 points. We’re all aware what kind of boost the Virginia product can provide to the team, and when he’s making his presence felt on defense, it goes that much further.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- Sterling Brown looked solid on the floor, making it several consecutive games where he’s had a positive impact. Maybe it was having his car filled with popcorn that did the trick. Watching from afar, we can only hope that Kidd rewards him with more minutes moving forward. If he doesn’t, count me in as a confused fan.
- John Henson’s jumper is disastrous. Like, sheeeeesh. The white towel was waved in this one when he air-balled that elbow jumper. I think I’m going to have that in my nightmares when my head hits my pillow for the next week.
- Pregame, I asked Steve Kerr what has stood out to him the most about Giannis while watching from afar. He gave me a pretty good answer as he highlighted Antetokounmpo’s boosted confidence, saying he’s taken that next step. Here’s the full quote:
I asked Steve Kerr pregame what has stood out to him the most about Giannis so far this year. He had some very high praise, particularly towards Antetokounmpo's confidence on the floor, saying he's taken "that next step." pic.twitter.com/B2BtzUdMYM— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) January 12, 2018
- Last night, I saw Kevin Durant play for the Golden State Warriors. I still can’t believe he plays for the Golden State Warriors (Also: Kevin Durant is good at basketball).
- I enjoyed Golden State’s throwbacks. It’s often said that nearly every professional sports team’s older version of a logo is better than their current one, and the case checks out here (I really want the Bucks to pay homage to their purple uniforms in some way next year).
- Dr. Dave continues to be the best. Seriously, I love this guy. In his profession, he helps save lives (read this story if you haven’t). But don’t tick him off when he’s in his seat:
- It was nice to see Kevon Looney have a solid appearance in his homecoming. I always root for a good story and though it didn’t work out in the Bucks favor, you gotta tip your cap. Pretty cool to see.
- I didn’t see any obnoxious Warriors fans. That’s pretty incredible, as the bandwagon fans are usually intolerable.