In a potential NBA Finals matchup, the Golden State Warriors defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 122-109 on Saturday at Chase Center for their third straight win to improve to 46-22.
It was an impressive victory for the Dubs, who were missing several key defenders in Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Gary Payton II and Otto Porter Jr. Klay Thompson, Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins carried the team on a rather quiet night from Stephen Curry.
The Bucks entered Saturday's contest on a six-game winning streak and sporting the NBA's No. 1 offense since returning from the All-Star break. However, they struggled offensively against the Warriors, finishing with their lowest scoring output since a Feb. 14 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Klay Thompson, SG, GSW: 38 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK
Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF, MIL: 31 PTS, 8 REB, 3 AST, 1 BLK
Jordan Poole, SG, GSW: 30 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL
Khris Middleton, SF, MIL: 18 PTS, 3 REB, 6 AST, 3 STL
Andrew Wiggins, SF, GSW: 21 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST, 2 BLK
Jrue Holiday, PG, MIL: 13 PTS, 1 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL
Stephen Curry's Gravity Opens Up Floor for Other Players
Saturday night's game was not a significant statistical night for Curry, who finished with just eight points, five rebounds and eight assists in 33 minutes. He also attempted just seven shots from the floor and four from deep.
Curry's performance against the Bucks highlights what many have talked about for years: His gravity is one of the most lethal offensive weapons in the NBA.
The 33-year-old consistently drew in defenders and was often double-teamed, which allowed many of his teammates to get open for shots, including Thompson, who had one of the best performances since his return after two years, Poole and Wiggins.
Thompson finished with 38 points, six rebounds and five assists in the win. It was a sensational performance, but people will also be talking about Poole and Wiggins, who combined for 51 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.
Jonathan Kuminga's performance off the bench was also incredible as he finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and one assist. This doesn't come as a surprise, though. He entered having averaged 18.3 points over his last four games.
These players wouldn't have been as effective had it not been for Curry. His ability to draw in defenders is incredible, and it's something head coach Steve Kerr praised earlier this season.
"The biggest thing is the balance. The scoring balance means teams can't throw everything at Steph. That's what was happening last year. It's continued this year but we have more overall shooting this year...It means if teams are going to throw the kitchen sink at Steph, they're going to pay."
It should also be noted that the Warriors have been playing without Green, who is a significant contributor on defense and helps space the floor. Once he returns, the Dubs will be one of the most feared teams in the league, if they aren't already.
Giannis Antetokounmpo's Effort Not Enough as Bucks Struggle Offensively
Since the All-Star break, the Bucks had been averaging 127 points per game entering Saturday night's contest against the Warriors. They looked primed for another impressive win after defeating the Atlanta Hawks 124-115 on Wednesday.
That wasn't the case, as players like Bobby Portis and Jrue Holiday failed to contribute much offensively. Portis finished with just four points, his worst scoring performance since he put up just six points in a win over the Indiana Pacers on Feb. 15.
It was an uncharacteristic performance for Portis, who is in the midst of a career year. The 27-year-old entered Saturday's game averaging a career-high 15.7 points and 9.2 rebounds, in addition to 1.2 assists on 48.8 percent shooting from the floor and 41.7 percent from deep.
Portis has really made strides in his offensive game this season, but his struggles on Saturday, a game in which he made just two of 10 shots from the floor and none of his four three-point attempts, highlights some inconsistencies in his game.
If the Bucks are going to contend with a team like the Warriors and win another title, it'll be important for Portis to be consistent down the stretch.
As for Holiday, he finished with just 13 points in what has been a rough three-game stretch for the veteran in terms of scoring. He put up 13 and 11 points, respectively, in his last two games entering Saturday. Before that, he had scored at least 20 points in four straight.
Like Portis, Holiday will need to have a more significant impact on offense moving forward. Antetokounmpo continues to carry most of the weight, and while he's one of the best players in the league, he can't continue to pace the team night in and night out.
The Bucks will travel to face the Utah Jazz on Monday, while the Warriors will host the Washington Wizards.