Shots don’t fall, nor do the champs
Milwaukee’s 7-of-39 three-point shooting is worst of the season
The Golden State Warriors are the kings of the NBA until someone takes their throne. And when you come for the king, you’d better not miss.
Missing, though, is exactly what the Milwaukee Bucks spent all night doing during a 105-95 loss Friday night at Fiserv Forum that didn’t feel as close as the 10-point final margin.
With Giannis Antetokounmpo swarmed by defenders on virtually every touch — and somehow still finding a way to finish with 22 points on 8 of 13 shooting along with 13 rebounds — Milwaukee needed the rest of its supporting cast to show up. By and large, that didn’t happen.
The Bucks went a season-worst 7 of 39 on three-pointers, good for a paltry 17.9%. At the other end, the Warriors picked the Bucks apart, using their aggressiveness against them. Bent on trying to shut off opportunities for Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant — who combined for 51 points anyway — the Bucks left capable shooters and cutters open all around the floor.
Andre Iguodala made them pay, turning open looks into 15 points. Jonas Jerebko put up 12 off the bench and played a vital defensive role, drawing three charges on the evening. Alfonzo McKinnie, often with all the time in the world, add three triples for 9 points.
Milwaukee’s starting lineup, stocked with shooters around Antetokounmpo, looked like they had their wings clipped as they couldn’t get anything going from three-point range. Counting Antetokounmpo’s 0 for 2 performance from beyond the arc, the Bucks’ starting unit was a paltry 5 of 27 on three-pointers (18.5 percent).
Khris Middleton, back from missing Wednesday’s game due to personal issues, was 1 of 7 on his own as part of a cold night overall. He missed his first four shots and didn’t get much traction until the third quarter.
Malcolm Brogdon, a nearly 50 percent three-point shooter this season, put up some ugly misses on the way to a 1 of 6 shooting night, though he did finish with 15 points. Eric Bledsoe caught similar amounts of iron during his 14point showing, struggling after a hot start and finishing with five turnovers while battling foul trouble and inconsistency. Brook Lopez, usually a solid outside threat, did more work spinning and whirling to the hook for buckets than he did beyond the arc, going 1 of 6.
As poorly as they played — the Bucks had 19 turnovers while the Warriors committed 18 giveaways — the Bucks were in the game deep into the third quarter. Ersan Ilyasova, back from a concussion, even game them a twopoint lead, but that margin lasted all of nine seconds before Curry knocked down a three at the other end.
The Bucks may be off to a better start this season, but the Warriors served a stark reminder Friday they’re still the kings of the NBA.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (left) and Kevon Looney battle for the ball Friday.
Stephen Curry is fouled by Eric Bledsoe.