Preview: Bucks at Warriors
The Golden State Warriors remain the team to beat in the NBA, but the Milwaukee Bucks are building something special and are intent on proving they belong among the game’s elite. The Bucks will try to prove as much when they visit the Warriors in the second of a four-game west coast road trip on Thursday.
Milwaukee won its first seven games before dropping two of the last three, including a 118-103 loss at Portland on Tuesday to begin the trip. “I didn’t think we came out with the greatest attention to the 3-ball, attention to them coming off screening situations,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters after the loss. “So, that put us in a little bit of a hole.” Lack of attention to detail on the 3-ball and in screening situations can doom an opponent of the Warriors, who lead the NBA in team 3-point percentage at .423 while boasting three of the best shooters in the game in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, all of whom can operate off the screen. Golden State is enjoying an eight-game winning streak and knocked down 13-of-24 from beyond the arc while cruising to a 117-101 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT, NBCS Bay Area (Golden State)
ABOUT THE BUCKS (8-2): Milwaukee star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is the driving force behind the team’s hot start and is averaging 25.8 points on 54.4 percent shooting, 13.3 rebounds and 5.9 assists while drawing praise from his fellow superstars. “He’s just very unique and I think he owns his game,” Curry told reporters of Antetokounmpo. “He understands how he can be impactful every night. He obviously plays extremely hard every night. Some of the stuff he does, your jaw drops. The way he can cover ground in a few strides, the way he can finish in the paint and all those types of things, it’s pretty special.” Antetokounmpo is also second in the NBA in turnovers at an average of five per game.
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (10-1): Curry leads the NBA in scoring at an average of 31.3 points while shooting 52.5 percent from the floor, 50.8 percent from beyond the arc and 92.3 percent from the free-throw line. Durant is right behind while averaging 27.7 points on 56.5 percent shooting, but the two will have to operate on Thursday without fellow All-Star Draymond Green, who is out with a sprained big toe suffered in Monday’s win. “It’s just day to day,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr told reporters after Wednesday’s practice. “No concern long term. So, we’ll just monitor it each day, and we’re so early in the season, obviously we’ll be cautious. We’ll see how it plays out.”
1. The Warriors also expect to be without PG Shaun Livingston (foot), who will miss his sixth straight game.
2. Bucks C Brook Lopez scored a season-high 22 points while going 6-of-10 from 3-point range on Tuesday.
3. Milwaukee earned a 116-107 win at Golden State last season as Antetokounmpo scored 32 points in a game Curry missed.