Giannis Triple-Doubles as Bucks Steamroll Stephen Curry, Warriors by 19

Erin WalshJanuary 14, 2022

MILWAUKEE, WI - JANUARY 13: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks looks on before the game against the Golden State Warriors on January 13, 2022 at the Fiserv Forum Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images).
Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

In a potential NBA Finals preview, the Milwaukee Bucks bested the Golden State Warriors 118-99 on Thursday at Fiserv Forum to move to 27-17 on the season. The victory helps Milwaukee keep pace with the Eastern Conference's best, including the Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat. 

It was an impressive win for the Bucks and a great steppingstone after entering having lost four of their last five games. Everything was clicking for Milwaukee on Thursday night, and it will look to keep that momentum going moving forward. 

Notable Stats

Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF, MIL: 30 PTS, 12 REB, 11 AST, 3 BLK

Stephen Curry, PG, GSW: 12 PTS, 8 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL

Khris Middleton, SF, MIL: 23 PTS, 5 REB, 7 AST, 1 STL

Klay Thompson, SG, GSW: 11 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL

Bobby Portis, C, MIL: 20 PTS, 7 REB, 1 STL, 1 BLK

Giannis Antetokounmpo Strengthens MVP Case 

MVP, just maybe. 

There is no one quite like Antetokounmpo, and the 27-year-old strengthened his MVP case on Thursday night with a triple-double against the Warriors, which was his third of the season. 

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

Giannis starting off the game with this shot?! Bet. <a href="https://t.co/mY9w3mEZo9">pic.twitter.com/mY9w3mEZo9</a>

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

Giannis taking a volleyball approach to finish off the oop. 😳 <a href="https://t.co/XBJj44Wkma">pic.twitter.com/XBJj44Wkma</a>

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

Khris ➡️ Giannis since day 1. 🔥 <a href="https://t.co/1yeQQCkXgo">pic.twitter.com/1yeQQCkXgo</a>

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

Giannis will always beat you to the basket. 🤷‍♂️ <a href="https://t.co/l9jTQ2N1kZ">pic.twitter.com/l9jTQ2N1kZ</a>

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

Hit 'em with the one, two step. <a href="https://t.co/hJbGpDegJk">pic.twitter.com/hJbGpDegJk</a>

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

The assist that gives Giannis the triple double!! <a href="https://t.co/Kt54GNwcUP">pic.twitter.com/Kt54GNwcUP</a>

He is just the second player in NBA history to average at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in three different seasons, joining Oscar Robertson, and would become the only player in league history to do it four times if he keeps pace this season. 

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

👀 <a href="https://t.co/8TWcIOQ0Sf">pic.twitter.com/8TWcIOQ0Sf</a>

Amid Curry's shooting slump, Antetokounmpo has risen in the NBA MVP race. According to Basketball Reference, he is the favorite to take home the hardware with a 28.1 percent probability. Nikola Jokic has the second-best chances at 19.6 percent. 


On Thursday, Giannis Antetokounmpo led both the Bucks and Warriors in: <br>- Points<br>- Rebounds<br>- Assists<br>- Blocks<br><br>He is the first player to do that while playing under 30 minutes since at least the 1973-74 season (via <a href="https://twitter.com/EliasSports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@EliasSports</a>). <a href="https://t.co/lgNXNU7qVj">pic.twitter.com/lgNXNU7qVj</a>

Antetokounmpo previously won the MVP award during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. During the 2018-19 campaign, the Greek Freak averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.5 blocks. He followed that up averaging 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists, one steal and one block during the 2019-20 season. 

For comparison, the five-time All-Star entered Thursday averaging 28.4 points (third in the NBA), 11.4 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.4 blocks per game. 

While it's early to be crowning an MVP, Antetokounmpo will seemingly lock up the award if he continues to be consistent, which shouldn't be too difficult if Milwaukee goes on a streak following Thursday's massive win over Curry, another MVP candidate, and the Warriors.  

However, Reggie Miller noted that Curry "still feels like" the leader in the MVP race, which means the award is really anyone's for the taking right now. 

Chris Mannix @SIChrisMannix

Reggie Miller is right: Steph Curry still feels like the leader in the MVP race, but it's tightening. Durant, Giannis, Embiid, Ja, the vote could be interesting come April.

Warriors' Shooting Slump Continues

The Warriors are in the midst of their worst stretch of the 2021-22 season. Not only have the Dubs been struggling defensively, but they seemingly can't make a shot.

Golden State entered Thursday's game having shot less than 43 percent in each of its last four games, including below 24 percent from distance. Those numbers hit new lows against Milwaukee. 

The Warriors' shooting woes were more prevalent in the first half as they were shooting less than 30 percent and entered halftime down 77-38.

Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpears

Bucks 77, Warriors 38 in Milwaukee. The Warriors trail by 39 points, their largest deficit since the franchise moved to California in 1962-63 from Philadelphia. <a href="https://t.co/aVKd8QXBPk">pic.twitter.com/aVKd8QXBPk</a>

However, things didn't get much better in the second half as the team finished 33-of-95 (34.7 percent) from the field and 16-of-48 (33.3 percent) from deep.

One player that's particularly struggled over Golden State's last few games is Curry. The two-time MVP is in a rare shooting slump, entering Thursday's game shooting just over 31 percent and just over 20 percent from deep in his last four games. 

Curry also entered shooting a career-low 42.0 percent from the field and 38.4 percent from three-point range through 37 games this season. Before the 2021-22 season, he had never shot below 40 percent from deep. 

But while Curry is in this uncharacteristic stretch, it doesn't seem to be bothering him. In fact, he told reporters before Thursday's game against the Bucks that he's not necessarily frustrated with his current percentages, but the team needs to do a better job of opening up the floor to make shots. 

Anthony Slater @anthonyVslater

Talked to Steph Curry about his dipped shooting percentages and the familiar on/off ball debate: “It's very refreshing that wasn't a conversation while I was playing well for so long. Now that I'm not, it comes back up. Like clockwork. I love it." <a href="https://t.co/b5MrjhQT8Z">pic.twitter.com/b5MrjhQT8Z</a>

Kerr also addressed the team's scoring issues following Tuesday's loss to the Grizzlies, saying exactly what Curry said about simplifying things and getting more people open for simple buckets. 

"I think just as a team, if we simplify our shot process of really trying to move the ball, to really trying to get a great shot, it'll help our whole team and it'll help Steph," Kerr said

Golden State's shooting woes go beyond Curry, and the team definitely has a lot to figure out, but it won't be difficult for the Dubs to catch fire again. Curry is one of the best shooters in NBA history, Thompson is finally back on the court and Andrew Wiggins will once again find his footing.

If the team can't figure things out quickly, it'll fall further behind the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference standings. However, this slump likely won't continue, and it's only a matter of time before the Warriors pick up the pieces and put the puzzle back together. 

What's Next?

The Warriors will be on the road to face the Eastern Conference-leading Bulls on Friday, while the Bucks will host the Toronto Raptors on Saturday.