There have been a number of impressive performances by the Milwaukee Bucks in this early season. None have come close to Thursday night’s 134-111 victory over the Golden State Warriors.
Coming off a 118-103 loss at Portland Tuesday night, a road slate of the Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets looked intimidating. Afterward, the Clippers and Nuggets had to be fearing the deer.
A 32-13 run in the third quarter pushed the Bucks out to a 96-69 lead with 3:41 left in the third quarter.
The Warriors cut it to 19 early in the fourth quarter, but the Bucks responded with an 8-0 run, and that was that. The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak for Golden State.
Giannis Antetokounmpo went to the bench with his fifth foul in the final minute of the third quarter. He never had to come back, finishing with 24 points and nine rebounds.
Eric Bledsoe led the Bucks (9-2) with 26, making 10 of 12 shots and leading a defense that pressured the ball and forced 18 turnovers.
Having made their mark with a “Let it Fly” offense firing away from behind the arc, the Bucks instead took the ball to the hoop all night long. They finished with an unheard-of 84 points in the paint. The Warriors had just 34 in the paint. Add in 21 points from the line, and the Bucks were simply unstoppable.
Pat Connaughton made a huge contribution with 15 points off the bench, 13 in a second-quarter that pushed the Bucks out to a 64-51 lead at the half. They doubled the lead in the third quarter and led by as many as 29 in the fourth quarter. On a night where they shot a pedestrian 9 for 35 from behind the arc, the Bucks never led by less than double digits over the final 22:55.
The Warriors (10-2) played without forward Draymond Green, who sat out with a toe injury. The lost MVP guard Steph Curry in the third quarter with an adductor muscle injury.
Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon combined for 46 points two nights after totaling just nine points on combined 4-for-21 shooting in the loss at Portland.
How good were the Bucks? Ersan Ilyasova took just one shot from the field — a 3-pointer — and finished with five points in 23 minutes. Yet he totaled plus-28 rating.
Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 24 points but tallied a minus-28 on plus/minus.