Long-range shots help bury Bucks

Golden State hoists sea­son-high 46 three-point tries

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - SPORTING GREEN - By Con­nor Le­tourneau

MIL­WAU­KEE — To be­come the class of the NBA, the War­riors staked their of­fen­sive phi­los­o­phy on rudi­men­tary arith­metic: Three-point­ers are worth more than two-point­ers.

But as the rest of the league tries to fol­low its blue­print, Golden State is ac­tu­ally hoist­ing fewer threes than most of its peers. In their 105-95 vic­tory Fri­day night over the Bucks at Fis­erv Fo­rum, the War­riors showed why they rev­o­lu­tion­ized the art of the deep ball, chuck­ing up a sea­son­high 46 three-point tries — and mak­ing 19 of them — to close their five-city trip with a three-game win­ning streak.

It was a feel-good sight for Golden State head coach Steve Kerr, who has spent much of the past week lament­ing his team’s pal­try num­ber of three-point at­tempts. The War­riors en­tered Fri­day hav­ing tried 116 fewer three-point­ers than their op­po­nents.

A cou­ple of years ago, Golden State’s 29.5 three-point tries per game would have been among the league’s best. Now, with teams try­ing to win on the strength of their long-range ex­ploits, that’s only good

enough for 19th.

“It was just, that’s what was there,” Kerr said of Fri­day’s three-point out­burst. “When (the Bucks) beat us at Or­a­cle a few weeks ago, they ba­si­cally packed the paint and dared An­dre (Iguo­dala), Jonas ( Jere­bko) and who­ever else to make shots. Those guys were ready and knocked them down.”

In a cru­cial six-minute stretch that spanned the third and fourth quar­ters, Golden State shot 6-for-9 from be­yond the arc to pull away from the Bucks. Stephen Curry and Klay Thomp­son fin­ished 4-for-9 from three-point range on a night the War­riors made al­most eight more threes than their sea­son av­er­age.

While three-point­ers fu­eled Golden State, they were the ruin of a Mil­wau­kee team try­ing to catch Toronto for the top spot in the Eastern Con­fer­ence stand­ings. The Bucks were a com­bined 7-for-39 (17.9 per­cent) from be­yond the arc.

Mil­wau­kee for­ward Gian­nis An­te­totk­oun­mpo, hardly a long-range marks­man, tried to will his team to vic­tory with re­peated for­ays to the rim. Though he made eight of his 11 shots from in­side the arc, he was called for three charges — all with Jere­bko de­fend­ing him.

“I ex­pected us to take some charges,” Iguo­dala said, “but I wasn’t ex­pect­ing that many.”

The War­riors took the lead for good late in the third quar­ter, when Curry’s three-pointer put them up 75-74 and halted a 12-2 run by the Bucks. It didn’t hurt that, after com­mit­ting 13 first-half turnovers, Golden State only had five in the sec­ond.

In 28 min­utes, Iguo­dala scored a sea­son-high 15 points on 6-for-10 shoot­ing to go with eight re­bounds. Curry (20 points), Thomp­son (20 points) and Jere­bko (12) also helped the War­riors over­come an off­shoot­ing night from Kevin Du­rant. In 37 min­utes, he posted al­most as many turnovers (seven) as points (11).

“It wasn’t a pretty game,” Jere­bko said. “We were scrap­ping out there, div­ing for loose balls and switch­ing on de­fense. We were do­ing a good job of just mak­ing it dif­fi­cult on Gian­nis.”

After a drama-filled first six or so weeks of the sea­son, Golden State ap­pears to be find­ing its foot­ing. It fol­lowed up backto-back losses with wins in At­lanta, Cleve­land and Mil­wau­kee. Its de­fense, which has lagged be­hind ex­pec­ta­tions, is be­gin­ning to tighten up.

And now, three-point­ers — sup­pos­edly one of the War­riors’ big­gest as­sets — are be­com­ing a fac­tor again. It also only helps that Dray­mond Green, who has missed the past 11 games be­cause of a sprained right toe, could be back for Mon­day’s game against Min­nesota. Cen­ter De­Mar­cus Cousins (torn left Achilles ten­don) should re­turn within the month.

Asked whether Golden State was build­ing mo­men­tum, Thomp­son said, “It’s build­ing. It’s build­ing like a … I don’t know, it’s build­ing re­ally well.”

Stacy Re­vere/Getty Im­ages) / Stacy Re­vere/Getty Im­ages)

The War­riors’ Kevin Du­rant (35), shoot­ing over Khris Mid­dle­ton of the Bucks, had 11 points, eight re­bounds and six as­sists.

Mor­rry Gash / As­so­ci­ated Press

Stephen Curry drives past Mil­wau­kee’s Eric Bled­soe (6) and Brook Lopez dur­ing the first half of tbe War­riors’ win.

War­riors for­ward Kevin Du­rant fouls Gian­nis An­te­tok­oun­mpo dur­ing the sec­ond half of Fri­day night’s game.

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