Two of the best teams in the NBA met on Thursday evening when Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Golden State Warriors 134-111 at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
West Coast Swing for the Bucks
NBA fans were treated to a big game early in the season. The Warriors were the top team in the Western Conference with a 10-1 record. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks are the top team in the Central Division and the second-best team in the Eastern Conference with an 8-2 record.
The Warriors had won eight in a row before they hosted the Bucks. The Bucks headed out west for a four-game road trip, but dropped the first game on Tuesday night in Portland 118-103. The Bucks started the season winning their first seven games.
Draymond Green was sidelined for this game. Green’s foot injury kept him out of the lineup and the Warriors could have used his defense and rebounding.
Without Green, no one could stop the Greek Freak and the Warriors gave up 134 points, which marked the most points allowed at home since 2009. That was in the pre-Steve Kerr and Curry era.
Stopping the Greek Freak
Coming into the game, the Greek Freak got off to a hot start with MVP-like numbers averaging 25.8 points per game with 13.3 rebounds and 5.9 assists.
Head coach Steve Kerr hoped the combination of Jordan Bell and Kevon Looney could contain the Greek Freak. Unfortunately, it did not work.
Bell drew the first assignment to guard the Greek Freak, but it did not turn out well. Bell committed two quick fouls in the first quarter and he was banished to the bench.
Looney fared slightly better, but in the end the Greek Freak finished the night with 24 points, nine rebounds, and four assists.
Most of the damage was done in the first half. The Warriors were down by 13 at halftime and Antetokounmpo led all scorers with 19 points, plus seven rebounds and three assists.
Beat the Champs
The defending champions are used to opponents coming to play them a little harder than usual. In this instance, the Bucks outplayed and outhustled the Warriors, who are seeking a three-peat.
“We got a little complement after winning eight in a row,” said Steve Kerrr. “We played a great team and they were hungry to get out there. They played exceptionally defensively. We didn’t execute well enough to generate any momentum and get our crowd into the game.”
Point guard Eric Bledsode led all scorers with 26 points to compliment the Greek Freak’s 24. Malcolm Brogdon scored 20 points and Khris Middleton added 17 points for the Bucks.
“They just played hungrier than us,” Klay Thompson said. “It was just an ugly night at the office.”
Thompson led the Warriors with 24 points. Kevin Durant added 17 points and he was out of sync most of the night.
“Sometimes you’ve got to get hit in the mouth in this league to remind you how hard it is to win a game,” Kerr said.
Warriors star Steph Curry left the game in the third quarter with a left adductor strain. Although hampered by ankle injuries for his entire career, the adductor strain is a new injury for Curry.
Curry came into the night averaging 31.3 points per game, but the Warriors MVP candidate struggled all night from the floor shooting 5 of 14. Curry had only 10 points when he left the game and failed to connect on any three-pointers going 0-4 from behind the arc.