Stephen Curry Scores 20 as Warriors Beat Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2018

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry drives past Milwaukee Bucks' Eric Bledsoe and Brook Lopez during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Morrry Gash/Associated Press

The Golden State Warriors finished their five-game road trip in style by defeating the Milwaukee Bucks 105-95 at Fiserv Forum on Friday night. 

The Warriors, who improved to 18-9, have now won three straight thanks to 20 points apiece from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way for the Bucks with 22 points, 15 rebounds and five dimes as Milwaukee dropped to 16-8 on the year. 

   

Continued Bench Woes Show Why Bucks Traded for Hill

Aside from the salary-cap implications, the Bucks acquired George Hill from the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday because they need bench help in a big way. 

Just look at Friday's performance. 

After entering the night ranked tied for 23rd in the league in bench scoring at 33.5 points per game, Milwaukee had five players combine for 20 points off the pine.

Enter Hill, who could serve as a catalyst for change. 

While Hill isn't a microwave scorer who's going to rocket the Bucks' second unit up the charts, he's the kind of efficient playmaker who can offer some sorely needed stability. 

To wit: Hill is averaging 10.8 points per game on 51.4 percent shooting from the field and 46.4 percent from three this season. What's more, he's drilled 52.5 percent of his pull-up attempts and 44.4 percent of his catch-and-shoot opportunities from beyond the arc, according to NBA.com player-tracking data

For a team that's looking to compete with the Toronto Raptors for Eastern Conference superiority, maintaining that kind of production will be key. Not only will it give the Bucks a bit of the depth the Raptors already have in spades, but it will help take some pressure off the likes of Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. 

At this rate, the reserve reinforcements can't come soon enough. 

   

Jerebko Proving to Be One Of Summer's Most Underrated Signings

Given the star power that consumes the Warriors, it's easy to overlook their bench. 

But on a night when Kevin Durant (11 points, 3-of-14 shooting) was effectively silenced and Curry failed to find a rhythm, it was hard to ignore the production head coach Steve Kerr got from one overlooked member of his second unit: Jonas Jerebko. 

An unheralded offseason signing who arrived in the Bay Area on a one-year deal at the veteran's minimum, Jerebko proved his worth throughout the Warriors' road trip with 20 points against the Raptors, 12 against the Hawks and another 12 on Friday thanks to four conversions from deep. 

That's more than the Dubs could have asked for. 

And thanks to his ability to space the floor and spot up confidently, he should continue to fill it up in his niche sharpshooting role off the bench as opponents direct their defensive attention toward Curry, Durant and Thompson. 

   

What's Next? 

The Bucks will head north for a potential Eastern Conference Finals preview against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. The Warriors will be off until Monday when the Minnesota Timberwolves pay a visit to Oracle Arena. 

Related

    Report: Lou Williams (Hamstring) to Miss 1-2 Weeks

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Report: Lou Williams (Hamstring) to Miss 1-2 Weeks

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report

    Jimmy Reveals Untold Detail About Beating Wolves Starters

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Jimmy Reveals Untold Detail About Beating Wolves Starters

    Kyle Newport
    via Bleacher Report

    Trade Ideas for NBA's Most Desperate Teams

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Trade Ideas for NBA's Most Desperate Teams

    Dan Favale
    via Bleacher Report

    KD: 'We'll Get Jerseys Retired...Probably Get Statues'

    NBA logo
    NBA

    KD: 'We'll Get Jerseys Retired...Probably Get Statues'

    Joseph Zucker
    via Bleacher Report