It wasn’t pretty for either team until the waning minutes of the contest, but the Milwaukee Bucks certainly had a chance to steal a game against the Golden State Warriors even without Giannis Antetokounmpo in the lineup. But alas, they didn’t have the firepower to keep up with Steph Curry as Milwaukee fell 116-125.
A rockfight broke out for both teams for the initial half of the first period, but they started heating up until Milwaukee went into the second down 26-28. It was looking like Milwaukee’s cold shooting might doom it to a steeper halftime disadvantage, but a late run helped them push it to just a 50-49 Warriors lead. Golden State came out of halftime molten hot, but the Bucks cooled them down and found their own groove offensively until they were down 77-80 with one period to go. Milwaukee finally had its shot flowing in the fourth to forge an eight-point lead, before the Warriors evaporated it behind Steph Curry going off. Tied at 108, Jrue Holiday pulled up for a stepback three in Looney’s face and nailed a clutch jumper. Steph Curry answered in kind, and a Draymond Green triple clanked off to send the game into OT at 111-111.
Golden State was on a heater to kickoff OT and they didn’t really look back, with Milwaukee’s road winning streak snapping at nine.
Couldn’t control the boards. Maybe the most infuriating part of this game (and I bet Bud feels the same) is that Milwaukee couldn’t contain the Warriors on the offensive glass. They had 18 OREB to the Bucks’ seven, but more importantly held a 24-4 advantage in second chance points. That reared its ugly head in regulation and overtime, and is one of those inexcusable parts of the game I’m sure Mike Budenholzer will be pointing out time and again in film sessions.
No Giannis...a few problems against this team. I can’t think of many elite teams across the league where having Giannis Antetokounmpo could tip the scales so severely in Milwaukee’s favor. Golden State simply doesn’t have the level of rim defense to stop Giannis, and I don’t think Draymond or Iguodala are up to the challenge of preventing him from going off. He also likely prevents quite as rough a performance on the offensive glass as well. This was still an impressive effort by the team without him though, and I’m not taking anything away from the Warriors, I just think there is a very distinct advantage with Giannis against this particular team that we didn’t get to see.
This offensive performance won’t hang in the Louvre. Milwaukee sat at 34.7% shooting after the first half (9-25 from three), while the Warriors were only a smidge better at 36% overall (but 10-24 from deep). That improved somewhat in the second half, but neither team will head home feeling all that comfortable. Rough turnovers kept cropping up, as did horrendous shooting until the late stages of the game. I was glad to see Milwaukee go back to Joe Ingles to help run their offense though; his stabilizing force was absolutely essential (as was his 5-6 shooting from deep). Neither Khris, Jrue or Brook were really all that efficient, so they needed some backups to step up.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- Steve Kerr treated us to a Donte revenge game by sticking him in the starting lineup. Meanwhile, Khris started his third straight game.
- It didn’t reach that Raptors-game level of offensive ineptitude, but the two teams combined to shoot 3-21 to kick this game off.
- Bud continued his practice of putting Joe Ingles on smaller players, opting to put him on Jordan Poole while placing Grayson Allen on Klay Thompson defensively in the first period. Almost immediately, Poole came around screens for a three on an ATO sideline play.
- Gotta admit, I imagine Grayson Allen took some pleasure out of taking Donte DiVincenzo off the dribble in an iso, bodied him up and then, to add insult to injury, scored at the rim. After that, Donte had the last laugh by nailing triple after triple while Allen couldn’t buy a bucket from deep the whole game.
- This game had a strange flow, with both the Bucks and Warriors stars not really feeling like key portions of the offense for the first half. Jevon Carter stepped up at a critical point in the second quarter with no Jrue or Khris to keep the team afloat scoring-wise with threes, particularly while Golden State kept nailing their long rangers as well.
- Bud challenged a foul on Holiday in the second quarter who was pulled down by Steph Curry after releasing his shot. I can’t recall Bud using his challenge that early all that often — and it’s probably partially a byproduct of Giannis not being available. Good challenge too — it was successful, putting a foul on Curry and taking two likely points off the board.
- Mike Breen calling a driving shot by Lopez as he faded away (typically referred to as a “runner,”) “actually more of a walker,” was a really deft joke inclusion.
- Milwaukee needed more of Joe Ingles pick-and-roll in this game. The Warriors had no chance inside against rolling Bucks big men, which was why it was nice to see them turn to Portis and Brook in the third to stabilize an offense that had been heavily reliant on threes to keep pace with the Warriors.
- Really interesting test case for Jae Crowder defensively at points in this one trying to chase Klay Thompson around screens off and on-ball. I thought the returns were pretty mixed and he got caught up too many times trying to get around even if he was game enough to attempt the contest.
- I know it’s baked into the Warriors ethos that they sometimes just make stupid passes, but it really does help make up for this Bucks team that’s prone to it’s own brand of idiocy in the passing department.
- The Bucks allowed SO many backcuts by the Warriors guards from the perimeter. That isn’t as painful when Brook Lopez is waiting at the rim, but it isn’t preferred when Portis is the last line of defense.