There won’t be an opportunity for the Golden State Warriors to tie the Lakers extraordinary streak of 33-0 on Christmas Day because the Milwaukee Bucks did what 19 other NBA teams couldn’t do in 2015-16. The Bucks beat the Warriors on Saturday night. And the NBA schedule beat the Warriors on Saturday night. No team has ever gone 7-0 on a road trip.
The Bucks kept the Warriors from scoring 100 points plus. The Bucks found a way to score over 100 points themselves, a rarity this season, and at the same time they kept the Warriors from running their whirlwind break and feasting off of their long range demoralizing shots. There will be a lot of talk about last night’s double overtime win in Boston that Steph Curry and company gutted out before they boarded a plane for Milwaukee. But credit the Bucks who played their own game last night in Toronto. The Bucks did what six other teams couldn’t do on this road trip.
Toronto couldn’t do it even with a 41 point performance from Kyle Lowry. The Celtics couldn’t do it even as they dragged their bodies through two overtimes. Milwaukee finished the job that other teams couldn’t find a way to complete.
Despite their own second night of a back-to-back game, the Bucks looked fresh and animated, definitely energized by the crowd, some of whom were already wearing 24-1 shirts in a moment of foreshadowing.
The Warriors looked exhausted. They had tired legs. They missed shots they normally make. Passes weren’t crisp. The effort was there but the players were worn down and the Bucks, the second worst shooting team in the NBA, rode the back of Greg Monroe to carry them through lulls in the game.
It never felt in the 4th quarter as if the Warriors were going to mount one of their incredible fourth quarter comebacks though they tried. They just couldn’t make shots and the Bucks had energy in spades. This for a team that has been one of the most disappointing in the Eastern Conference, with a losing record. But tonight they were ready for the Warriors and credit Oakland native Jason Kidd to know exactly how to defend Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
Thompson played in his first game since he twisted his ankle. He missed a lot of shots, 10 out of 14. Curry had a below average three point shooting night. The 46% three point shooter drained 25% which was a clue his legs weren’t there, though he was still Curry, driving and slicing to the rim, bouncing off of defenders, leading the Warriors with 28 points.
There wasn’t much help outside of Draymond Green’s 24. There were four players who had two points (Andrew Bogut, Andre Iguodala, Leandro Barbosa, Marreese Speights), a player with 4 points (Shaun Livingston) and a player who didn’t score (Jason Thompson). That pretty much sums up the loss.
Luke Walton was characteristically even keeled about the whole thing.
“It was a lot of fun. We plan on continuing to win a lot of ball games. They (Milwaukee) wanted it a little bit more. We look like we ran out of gas. We tried a lot of different things. We couldn’t get the stops. Monroe was getting in there and scoring. They were slashing to the hole and knocking shots. You have to give them credit for how they played.”
Greg Monroe of the Bucks who had 28 points to lead Milwaukee said, “We did a good job sticking together.” The Bucks 31 assists on 44 made shots was a season high. Their 49.4% shooting and 42.% from three was a season high. Their 44 rebounds was their fifth highest rebounding total this year. They never had 12 steals in a game this season before tonight. They were the first team to keep the Warriors under 100 points. To be sure, it wasn’t a perfect Milwaukee game but it was everything they needed it to be to stop one of the greatest streaks the NBA had every seen, 28-0 since last year, 24-0 since late October.
Steph Curry didn’t like the streak ending.
“Everyone was pretty proud of the accomplishment. We are looking forward to going home. It’s been a long road trip. We were very confident (tonight). Every night we can go get a win. Milwaukee played well and with a lot of energy. We just didn’t make enough plays to come out here with a victory. We all expected to win. It just didn’t happen. We like winning. We want to win every game we can. We have a nice little spot in history.”
Draymond Green said: We know what it takes. Everyone’s gotten better. Everyone’s in the gym. We know each other better. Everyone’s more familiar with the system. We missed a lot of shots that we would make. But give them a lot of credit. They were swarming all over the place. It doesn’t feel like a playoff loss. We’ll continue to get better and look forward to the bigger picture. It’s almost a sense of relief and now we can focus on what we need to focus on.”
photo via llananba