Shots don’t fall, nor do the champs

Mil­wau­kee’s 7-of-39 three-point shoot­ing is worst of the sea­son

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - Sports - Matt Ve­lazquez

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.

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