Bucks can’t match Warriors’ talented ‘Splash Brothers’
Milwaukee hit just 5 of its 21 attempts from the field in the first quarter on Saturday night, en route to shooting 26.7 percent prior to halftime, its worst field-goal percentage in a single half this season. That proved pivotal in a 108-95 loss to Golden State.
MILWAUKEE — Standing in the bowels of the arena he once called home, Andrew Bogut was asked if the Golden State Warriors had what it takes to win an NBA championship.
Hours later, the Warriors clinched the top seed in the Western Conference with a 108-95 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in front of a sellout crowd of 18,717 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
"I’ve never won a championship, so I don’t know exactly what ingredients are needed," Bogut said. "But I think if you look on paper and you look at what we have right now, we definitely have a chance."
The Bucks had to play nearly perfect Saturday in order to hang with a Warriors team that was trying to become just the 13th team in NBA history to reach 60 wins through 73 games.
That didn’t happen.
Milwaukee hit just 5 of its 21 attempts from the field in the first quarter en route to shooting 26.7 percent prior to halftime, its worst field-goal percentage in a single half this season.
"We were going to try something new," Bucks coach Jason Kidd joked. "We were going to try to not score and see if we could beat them."
The only reason the Bucks were within 48-38 at halftime was because the Warriors committed 15 turnovers and were just 4 of 13 from beyond the arc.
"We didn’t play like we should have," Bucks guard Michael Carter-Williams said. "We gave them too many easy baskets. We can’t trade baskets with them. We’re a defensive team. That’s what happens when you don’t come ready to play.
"To beat them, you’ve got to really lock in on defense and hit shots, and we didn’t do either of those."
Milwaukee was within eight when Stephen Curry committed up his fourth foul with 7:44 left in the third quarter, but his fellow "Splash Brother" picked up the slack. Klay Thompson scored 17 of his 21 points in the third quarter, helping Golden State build a 19-point advantage.
Relatively quiet through three quarters, Curry took over after the Bucks clawed to within 11 points early in the fourth quarter. The MVP candidate hit consecutive 3-pointers, including one of a high degree of difficulty.
Curry scored 11 in the fourth quarter to finish with a game-high 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting.
"He’s having a heck of a season," Kidd said. "Those are the shots he can make. Anything behind that line, those are good shots for him. We couldn’t get him to go to the basket enough. He was in his comfort level. Any time he can make you go east to west he has you on a yo-yo. It is pretty much going to be a made 3."
By hitting 8 of their 12 3-point attempts in the second half, the Warriors didn’t allow room for the Bucks to make a comeback. Milwaukee was outscored by 30 points from the 3-point line, as the Bucks went just 2 of 15 from distance.
Khris Middleton missed each of his three 3-point attempts, while Ersan Ilyasova followed up his stellar performance against Indiana by going 1 for 10 from the field Saturday.
"We had some good looks," Kidd said. "They just didn’t go down for us tonight. I thought our defense was pretty good. If we’re going to rely on making shots against the elite teams, we’re going to find ourselves in a lot of games that we lose.
"We were built to play defense and work from defense to offense. We got frustrated tonight because we missed some shots we normally make. That led to them being able to get 3s and layups. They controlled the game from there."
With the game already decided, Kidd played the reserve unit of Jerryd Bayless, Tyler Ennis, O.J. Mayo, Jared Dudley and John Henson the entire fourth quarter.
It allowed Mayo and Dudley to play extended minutes for the first time since returning from injury. Dudley scored 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting in 25 minutes, while Mayo added eight points and five assists in 20 minutes.
"Obviously you want to win the ballgame and that’s what we try to go out there and do, but we are just trying to find some type of rhythm in here in the last nine games," Mayo said. "Just to give ourselves the best chance at winning and to give our team a lift, which is what we’ve been doing all year."