What we learned as Warriors roughed up by Bucks in loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
MILWAUKEE – In what was billed as a potential NBA Finals matchup, only one of the contenders showed up to Fiserv Forum on Thursday night – the defending champions.
The Milwaukee Bucks handed the Warriors a back-alley beat down, dominating from the opening tip and cruising to a 118-99 win.
The Warriors got off to a horrific start in the house of the defending champions. Golden State hit just two of its first nine shots and fell into a 16-4 hole. By the time the first stanza ended, the Bucks held a 37-21 lead, with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton tallying 11 points each. The Warriors’ offense, which scored just 18 points in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, shot 34.8 percent from the floor in the first quarter and hit just 2-of-12 3-pointers.
It was much of the same in the second quarter, as Milwaukee opened the frame on an 11-3 run to stretch the lead to 24. When the dust settled in the first half, the Warriors trailed 77-38 and had made almost as many turnovers (11) as made shots (12).
The second half was an exercise in playing out the string as the Warriors never threatened to make a comeback.
Antentokounmpo (30 points), Middleton (23) and Portis (20) were all the Bucks needed to send the Warriors to their second straight L.
Here are three observations from the Warriors’ blowout loss in Milwaukee.
During their run to five straight NBA Finals appearances, the Warriors were a team who would routinely flip a switch and blow out teams who were seen as a possible threat to their championship crown. The roles were reversed Thursday as the defending champs clearly wanted to send a message to the Warriors and the NBA.
The Bucks were locked in on both ends of the floor from the first minute and never let their foot off the Warriors’ throat.
Milwaukee picked apart Golden State’s defense, shooting 62 percent in the first half. Even up 30 in the second quarter, reserve guard George Hill was face-guarding Curry, not letting the Warriors’ star have any breathing room.
It was part of a clear message: “We know we could be seeing you down the line, and we want you to see what we can do to you.”
The 39-point halftime deficit was the Warriors’ largest since they moved to California.
Antetokounmpo and Bobby Portis outscored the Warriors’ entire team in the first half.
Curry was a minus-34 through the first two frames.
It was a complete demolition.
Thursday appeared on paper to be the perfect night for Curry to bust out of his recent funk.
The Warriors were coming off a tough loss to the Grizzles, were facing the defending champions on national television and the two-time NBA MVP had been hearing about his cold streak for far too long.
But it was more of the same Thursday in Milwaukee as Curry scored 12 points on 4-for-11 shooting from the field. He went 2-for-6 from 3-point range.
The Bucks threw several defenders at Curry. Wesley Matthews started out on him, but Middleton, Hill and others all got turns making life tough on Curry.
Milwaukee never lost contact with the Warriors star, and the Bucks’ hot shooting night limited Golden State’s transition opportunities which allowed their defense to get set against Curry.
Curry wasn’t alone in having a cold night.
Klay Thompson, who is set to sit out Friday’s game vs. the Chicago Bulls, scored 11 points on 3-for-11 shooting.
It’s tough to take anything positive away from getting drubbed, but the Warriors had to have liked seeing the return of aggressive Andrew Wiggins.
Wiggins entered the game having scored just 13 and 10 points, respectively, in his last two games, and there was a worry that the return of Thompson was causing him to lose his edge that made him an All-Star candidate.
But Wiggins had a solid game Thursday, scoring 16 points on 6-for-11 shooting before being subbed out in the third quarter with the rest of the starters.
It wasn’t a jump-off the page game. Those don’t exist in a blowout loss. But Wiggins looked more like the version the Warriors have gotten used to seeing over the first 40 games.