The Golden State Warriors entered the game with league best defensive rating and did not live up to the billing against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the rest of the Bucks wanted to make a statement about that. They raced off to a 37-21 lead after the first quarter. That advantage was 77-38 at halftime after the Bucks outscored the Warriors 40-17. The Bucks shot 30 of 47 from the field and 10 of 20 from three at the half.
Golden State made it a bit more of a game in the second half, but the Bucks’ hard work through the first two periods was so good that they were never seriously threatened.
The first half went so badly for the Warriors that it had to end with a buzzer-beating three from Bobby Portis that was celebrated with a shimmy.
This was basically the Bucks at halftime:
The Warriors hadn’t been down that much since 1961 when they were still in Philadelphia, and today’s 118-99 loss was tied for their worst losing margin of the season along with their 119-100 loss to the Toronto Raptors in December.
The Bucks moved the ball around beautifully through most of the game, and an extra pass led to a ton of wide open threes along with opportunities at the rim. Their two stars were on top of some of those highlight plays.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was unstoppable for the Bucks. He finished with 30 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists and 3 blocks while making 11 of 17 shots. He made a couple of plays that were a great reminder that once he gets some momentum going to the rim, he is almost impossible to stop.
His co-star, Khris Middleton, was on good form, too, with 23 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. Middleton can still be hot and cold, but when he’s on, he’s on. He’s also not afraid to take difficult shots, something that played a role in their winning the title last year.
Portis was the crowd favorite for the night. He finished with 20 points and 7 rebounds while shooting 4 of 7 from the three-point line. He had a game-best plus/minus of +27.
The Warriors’ defense and offense were both out of sorts against the Bucks. It was obvious how much they missed Draymond Green. Green’s ability to communicate and lead by example is key to their defensive efforts. His playmaking on the other side of the court was also sorely missed, as the Warriors didn’t have Green’s steadying presence and ball handling, two traits that help Steph Curry and Klay Thompson focus on scoring the ball.
Speaking of Curry, he again struggled. He made 4 of 11 shots in 29 minutes of play while finishing with 12 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. He had a game-worst plus/minus of -25.
That was a rough one for the Dubs, who now have to dust themselves off as they will be facing the Chicago Bulls in less than 24 hours. That Bulls team is not going to be an easy out, either, as they will be trying to erase the memory of their own ass whooping at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets.