Matchup: Golden State Warriors vs Milwaukee Bucks
Records: Warriors (17-9), Bucks (16-7)
Where to Watch
Date: Friday, Dec. 9
Time: 9:30 PM ET
Location: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
This is the second time the Bucks and Warriors will be facing off this season. The Bucks picked up a resounding 134-111 win at Oracle Arena back in early November.
More pressing than the result for Golden State was the loss of Stephen Curry who left midway through the first meeting with a strained groin that sidelined him for the next 11 games. In Curry's absence, the Warriors went just 5-6, ranking 23rd in defensive rating and 12th in offensive rating.
Some of the overall defensive woes plaguing Golden State can be attributed to the absence of Draymond Green, who has missed 13 of the last 15 games and is expected to miss Friday's game against the Bucks. In the 13 games, Green has played, the team has a defensive rating of 101.7 while he is on the court (a team-best) and the team's defensive rating falls to a team-worst 111.4 when Green is on the bench .
Green is likely to return on Monday against the Timberwolves when the Warriors return home from their five-game Eastern Conference road trip which began with the overtime loss in Toronto on November 29.
Having said all of that, the Warriors have bounced back winning five of their seven games since their four-game losing streak and Curry has been part of the last three, looking in great shape with averages of 33.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists on 53.4% shooting from the field and 54.5% from beyond the arc.
Shifting gears to the Bucks, it's been a rather inconsistent 9-7 run since the beginning of November after starting the season 7-0.
A couple of those seven losses came on a grueling four-game West road trip against the Trail Blazers in Portland and the Clippers in Los Angeles but on the flip side, since that trip, they've also lost winnable games against the Phoenix Suns (at home) and the Knicks (overtime loss in New York).
Still, they are currently second in the East and showing huge improvements from last season. Although they lead the league in offensive rating (115.1), their bigger improvement has come on the defensive end of the floor where they have a 105.0 rating (6th best), a huge leap from their rating last season - 109.1 (18th best). A big part of Milwaukee's success on that end is that it continues to force teams to take difficult shots. The Bucks rank third in the league in forcing their opponents into mid-range shots (17.7 attempts) ,
Offensively, they've made a great tactical change. Implementing their new head coach Mike Budenholzer's 3-point shooting fever, the Bucks attempt the second-most three's in the league at 40.6 (24.7 attempts - 25th best last season) while making 36% of them which is good for 9th-best (last season - 35.5%, 22nd best).
Leading the way of course is Giannis Antetokounmpo, the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Month who just turned 24 on Thursday. Antetokounmpo is averaging 27.0 points, 12.9 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game this season and scored 24 points in the first meeting with Golden State. He has outscored Kevin Durant in each of their last two meetings, both Bucks wins.
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Hosting the Warriors completes a great homestand (9 of their last 11) for the Bucks and now they have seven of their next nine games on the road, starting with the Raptors in Toronto on Monday.
Last Time They Played
Date: Nov. 9, 2018
Score: Bucks 134, Warriors 111
Warriors: Kevin Durant - 17 points, 9 assists, and 5 rebounds
Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo - 24 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks