The Milwaukee Bucks fell at the hands of Klay Thompson’s finest game since returning to the Golden State Warriors from his long injured road, and they couldn’t keep up their end of the scoring bargain as they fell 122-109. Milwaukee opened the game tied up at 28 with the Warriors, primarily behind a solid three-point stroke through the first quarter. Klay Thompson broke out for a heater in the second quarter, erupting to power the Warriors ahead 67-58 by half. The Warriors didn’t cool off from deep one bit, while the Bucks couldn’t deliver consistent stops nor consistent offense as they went down 103-84 heading into the fourth. The Bucks, despite playing their starters well into the fourth, just couldn’t post the requisite defense to get back into the game and took the L to kick off this West Coast swing.
The Warriors ball movement bested the Bucks pressure. Steph Curry scored a season-low eight points as Bud dialed up the pressure with face-guarding up and down the court to go with doubling him atop the arc. It may have prevented him from going off, but the complementary players on the Warriors made hay around him. Andrew Wiggins re-found his groove, Jordan Poole took advantage of dribble penetration and Milwaukee going under screens and Klay Thompson went for 38. The ball movement was more than enough to make up for their best player opting for distribution rather than shots.
Golden state doesn’t have an answer for Giannis. Obviously no Draymond Green makes the previous point obvious, but my assertion all year has been that even with Green in the lineup, they just don’t have the size or strength to match wits with Giannis down low. He went off for 31 points on just 17 shots, knocking down 12-18 from the charity stripe. The Warriors opted to mostly play him one-on-one, seeing if he could beat them singlehandedly, which was partially why he had only three assists. Still, he cut through them in transition and the halfcourt, their best play was simply to foul.
Business as usual for Giannis.— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) March 13, 2022
31 PTS | 8 REB | 3 AST pic.twitter.com/M7Px6bfjdq
The supporting cast was a tad off. Giannis came to play, but Khris Middleton struggled to find a rhythm until it was too late (18 points on 19 shots). Jrue Holiday didn’t seem to make his impact on the game, Bobby Portis was just 2-10. Jevon Carter and Serge Ibaka were the highlights off the bench, with 24 points between them, but the Big Three weren’t firing on all their cylinders as they have been in recent contests. The most important news to come out of this game probably came before tipoff honestly, when it sounded like reinforcements might finally be on the way.
Bonus Bucks Bits
One minor nice note from Serge Ibaka as a passer in this one, he got the ball on the roll in the first in the middle of the lane and had the wherewithal to turn and find Matthews in the corner for a triple attempt. I haven’t seen much of Ibaka as a distributor, so it was a nice play to see.
When Giannis can get free throws off a pump fake from a midrange jumper, you know he’s got something working. Credit to him for getting Wiggins to jump in the second quarter.
Jevon Carter continues to be solid in the role asked of him, he’s given the Bucks a frisky guard defender the likes of which they haven’t had in any manner since George Hill got hurt. Couple that with his triple from the corner still falling and you have to respect the yeoman-type player he’s been for Bud.
Even though the game was already practically out of hand in the third, I did appreciate Giannis treating it like a playground in practicing his midrange jumper. The makes will come and go, but the confidence in his stroke is maybe more important at this point come Playoff time.
After going under two screens against Jordan Poole in the third quarter, Grayson Allen got an early hook from Bud. His stat line looks decent, but it certainly wasn’t the best game from the fifth starter.
If you’re sensing a lot of Giannis-centric stuff in this article, well, it’s because he was easily the best part of this game. Early on in his career, one of my favorite Giannis moves was when he would get into the post, drop step along the baseline and then unexpectedly dunk over his defender. I feel like we haven’t seen that move in some time, but this was a treat to see it broken out against Kuminga.
GIANNIS THROWS IT DOWN OVER KLAY!! pic.twitter.com/AYplE8yiTX— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) March 13, 2022
Let’s hope DeAndre Bembry is okay. He landed on Jordan Poole’s foot during a closeout and had to be helped off the court.