The league leaders, Milwaukee Bucks, defeated Golden State Warriors tonight, but much tougher than many expected, 107-98. Giannis and the company had to work very hard to take down the worst team of the Western Conference.
“No matter who is there on the court, they are getting after you, on offense or off the ball, on screen actions…Really impressive what coach Kerr is doing. They make you earn it, for sure.” said Mike Budenholzer about GSW.
It was pretty intense at the start, with the first quarter ending 19-19. with both teams having very poor shooting percentages – Warriors 32% from the floor and Milwaukee 30%. As time went on, the Bucks generated a small advantage, which would go between four and six points, before jumping to eight at the halftime, 47-39.
But Mike Budenholzer’s guys never reached the position to break the Warriors and make some notable run. There was one moment in the late part of the third and the early fourth, when Milwaukee had a 13-point lead, but even then, it was very intense on the floor, and Golden State kept coming after the visitors.
With 1:51 to go, Omari Spellman sunk two free-throws to bring his team to just five points, 101-96. But the referees made a few questionable calls, with the first one being Alec Burks foul on Eric Bledsoe, which Kerr challenged. After viewing the replay, the officials stood with their initial decision, and the Warriors were left without a timeout. Milwaukee’s guard would hit both of his foul-stripe shots, and after him, Giannis added four more-free hits to seal the game. The hosts were a bit unhappy with the officiating, but that wasn’t going to change anything after the game ended. Kerr was very unhappy because Ky Bowman got a tech for staring at Kyle Korver after one dunk.
“Apparently the referees have been told if someone stares at someone, that’s taunting and you have to call a T. Seems like a new rule. Seems unnecessary.”
Burks had 19 points, 7 assists, and 5 boards off the bench. Glen Robinson III added 15, while Damion Lee had the same number of points, hitting four threes. Willie Cauley-Stein posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
We just need to point out the role of a young rookie Alen Smailagic. The Serbian forward played 11 minutes and scored 10 points, adding four boards and one three. As time goes by, Steve Kerr is getting more and more trust in this young fella, who really has a lot of potentials.
“This has been a good opportunity for Smiley to feel the NBA. But he played 11.5 minutes, and he needs to go play 30 minutes (in the G League). He will soon,” said Steve Kerr about the youngster.
On the other side, the Bucks were led by Giannis, who had 30 points and 12 boards. He made one of his seven three-point attempts and was 9 for 13 from the line. Behind him was Khris Middleton with 21 points, 7 boards, and 6 assists, and Eric Bledsoe scored 16 buckets. Boys from Wisconsin made just 9 hits from downtown in 41 attempts.
The Bucks (33-7) continue their tour through the West, with two more games on the Pacific shore. The first one is against the Sacramento Kings this Friday, and after that, they head up north, to Portland to face the Blazers.
Meanwhile, the Warriors (9-30) have two road matches coming up, one in LA versus Kawhi and the Clippers on Saturday, and the next with the Grizzlies on Sunday night in Tennessee.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.