Jrue Holiday on potential game-winning shot vs. Warriors
Milwaukee point guard Jrue Holiday spoke on the final plays in regulation following the Bucks overtime loss to Warriors.
Jim Owczarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
SAN FRANCISCO – An unstoppable force ran into an immovable object Saturday night, as the Milwaukee Bucks brought the best record in the NBA into the Chase Center where the Golden State Warriors were 27-7.
And the Warriors’ ability to protect home court did indeed slow down the Bucks with a 125-116 overtime victory, which ended a nine-game road win streak and extended the Warriors’ home win streak to seven. Milwaukee fell to 48-19 and Golden State improved to 35-33.
“I thought we showed great composure,” Bucks center Brook Lopez said. “We had a lot of guys step up in big moments, make big shots, get stops. This was a positive experience. Unfortunately we lost. We felt like we should have it. They obviously played really well, but there’s a lot of good takeaways.”
Seven of the nine Bucks who played scored in double figures, with Lopez and Khris Middleton scoring 19 each. Bobby Portis had 15 points and 13 rebounds while Jrue Holiday had 18 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. Pat Connaughton had 15 points off the bench.
Play of the game was Steph Curry blocking Jrue Holiday
The Bucks had a chance to go ahead in regulation with seconds left when Jrue Holiday took Steph Curry to the basket, but Curry blocked Holiday’s attempt to force overtime.
“The last shot I thought I had a lane,” Holiday said. “I should know that if I go in there I’m not going to get a foul call, they’re going to swallow the whistle at the end of the game.”
The play was set up when Holiday lost the ball out of bounds with 24.9 seconds left and the Bucks up 111-108, giving the Warriors the ball back. Curry then hit a game-tying three with 19 seconds left on the clock.
“Honestly I was just dribbling and that ball didn’t come up. That’s stupid. I just wanted to get across. I knew they had to foul. But I didn’t want to play with it in the backcourt, just wanted to get it across and stand there. Stupid play.”
Bucks, Warriors show championship mettle
A JaMychal Green three-pointer gave the Warriors a 66-53 lead with 8 minutes, 21 seconds left in the third quarter and capped a flurry of fast-paced threes from the defending champions and the Bucks were on their heels.
It looked, for a moment, like Golden State might blow it open.
But then Grayson Allen scored five straight points to quiet a raucous Chase Center and stem the tide, and the Bucks began to gradually work their way back. Bobby Portis scored seven straight points in the final two minutes of the quarter and the Bucks only trailed 80-77.
Two and a half minutes into the fourth quarter, the Bucks took an 81-80 lead to reset the game.
BOX SCORE:Warriors 125, Bucks 116 (overtime)
The teams essentially traded the baskets over the next four minutes until Allen rattled in a corner three and a Pat Connaughton steal turned into a Jrue Holiday three to give the Bucks a 98-92 advantage with 5:22 to go.
“It was impressive, on the road, to dig ourselves out of a hole,” head coach Mike Budenholzer said.
Allen said the Bucks knew a Warriors run like that would come at some point, and that keeping a level head in such a scenario was necessary.
“I think we played our own game,” Holiday said. “I think a little bit in that first half we just started playing fast, just as fast as they play, and you’re not going to beat them at their game.
“I think in that second half when we tried to slow down, got the matchups that we wanted, go the advantages that we wanted, we kind of locked in defensively and got rebounds and pushed it. We played our game and honestly I think we did a good job of that. Honestly, down the stretch, we need to take care of the ball.”
Milwaukee led 108-100 with two minutes left, before it was Golden State’s turn to dig back in. They outscored the Bucks 11-3 in those minutes to force overtime, which included several huge defensive plays and clutch baskets by Curry and Donte DiVincenzo.
“You can count possessions, but two stops and 2 threes and now it’s a game, so you can’t really do that with them,” Allen said
Then in overtime, Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevon Looney and Draymond Green helped the Warriors finally pull away with key baskets and offensive rebounds.
Warriors test Bucks’ three-point defense
For years, it wasn’t uncommon for opponents of the Bucks to set franchise highs against them when shooting from behind the three-point line. From the start of the Budenholzer era in 2018-19 through the 2021-22 season, eight opponents set or tied 10 franchise records for three-pointers made in a quarter, half or game.
Nine opponents set or tied another 11 franchise records for three-pointers attempted in a half or a game.
There have not been those kind of nights this season and the Bucks entered Saturday night’s game against Golden State No. 2 in the league in opponent three-point shooting percentage (34.3%). It is a stark contrast to years past then they firmly in the back half (or bottom) of the league in that category.
Enter, the Warriors.
The defending NBA champions came as the fourth-best shooting team from deep (38.2%) and Klay Thompson was No. 2 in total threes made (237). In the Bucks’ 17-point victory back on Dec. 13, the Warriors shot 40% from behind the three-point line in going 20 for 50, but several of those makes came late when the benches were emptied.
“There’s nobody that plays the way Golden State plays,” Budenholzer said before the game. “It’s a very unique style and obviously Curry and Thompson and Poole has really followed kind of their lead. The off-ball screens and the movement and the randomness, the pace (is different), and you know I guess if you’re in the West you see it four times and you’re in the East you see it twice. But hopefully to try to make it difficult for Golden State, for their shooters, understanding how many threes they’re going to shoot, the percentages and the rate at which they make threes.
“You hope you’re prepared and then you go out and you find out if you are.”
The Warriors took a 50-49 halftime lead thanks to a 10-for-24 showing from behind the three-point line – one that saw Thompson attempt just one as he was limited to eight minutes due to foul trouble and Curry go 1 for 5. But DiVincenzo was 4 for 8 and JaMychal Green was 3 for 5 to pace the Warriors.
Thompson’s return to start the second half was forceful, however, as he hit two quick threes and Curry dropped one as the Warriors went on a 16-2 run early in the third quarter to take a 66-53 lead.
At that moment, with 8:21 to go in the third quarter, the Warriors improved to 14 for 30 (47%) from behind the three-point line.
Golden State was 8 for 23 (34.7%) thereafter in regulation, but Curry drained three of them in the final two minutes to send the game to overtime. He finished the game with 36 points on 13 of 27 shooting, including 6 for 15 from behind the three-point line.
“Well, overtime and fourth quarter, he got away from us a little bit,” Budenholzer said. “Some of them were high level. I think there were a lot of examples of good defense and just a little bit better offense. But for a lot of the night I thought the guys did a great job (on Curry). The effort was what we needed.”
When told of the Warriors’ dip in percentage, Allen smiled.
“That’s a lot though. That’s a lot,” he said of the eight makes. “It’s a little bit of both, where you play really good defense but you know those guys are hunting it, they’re coming off two, three, four screens. Draymond and Kevon are all setting great screens trying to get those guys open so it’s just a grind to stay consistent with the defense your playing. They’re going to make a few in a row, they’re going to miss a few in a row.”
Curry hit one more in the extra period on a pull-up over Holiday and Brook Lopez to effectively clinch it at 120-113 with 2:03 to go.
They finished 23 for 55 (41.8%) on the night. DiVincenzo and Curry each hit 6 threes while Thompson and JaMychal Green had four each. Jordan Poole was 2 for 5 from distance.
Giannis Antetokounmpo missed second straight game with hand injury
Early Saturday afternoon the MVP candidate was questionable to play with right hand soreness, but he was downgraded to out later in the day. He missed the game against Brooklyn on March 9 with the injury and sat out the game in Orlando on March 7 with an illness. It appeared that Antetokounmpo injured the hand in the first quarter of the Bucks’ win in Washington on March 7, as it was taped briefly before he took that off to finish the game.
Prior to missing the game against Brooklyn on Thursday with hand soreness, Budenholzer said the hand had been hit, but he clarified in Golden State that the current issue does date back to the original wrist injury in Chicago.
The Bucks star has missed 14 games thus far this season, and over the last nine games he’s missed three completely and left two early due to a sprained wrist (Feb. 16) and a bruised right quadriceps (Feb. 24).
In Orlando he told the Journal Sentinel, “Jrue (Holiday), Khris (Middleton), me, Brook (Lopez), everybody, we just gotta do our job every single night and don’t have to do nothing more than our job. It just makes our part of the success easier. For me, I love that feeling. I feel like in the past, sometimes maybe I feel like I almost gotta carry like a big load and I don’t feel that way anymore. It’s a good feeling.”
9-6 Bucks record without Antetokounmpo.
18 Offensive rebounds for Golden State, which led to 24 second chance points. Milwaukee only had four second-chance points.
“We needed to be better. I thought there was sometimes where we stood and expected somebody else to get it. We didn’t go with a force and the mindset that we had to get every rebound. I thought the offensive boards, especially early, first quarter, first half, and then again a little bit late, that’s an area where I think we can be significantly better on the boards than we were tonight.”
33 Assists for the Warriors, who came into the game leading the NBA with 29.6 per game.
231 Consecutive regular season games Curry has made at least one three-pointer. The last time he didn’t make one? Against the Bucks on Nov. 8, 2018 (0 for 4)
1/21/23 Date of the Bucks’ last road loss. The Cleveland Cavaliers won 114-102 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse that night.
Video of the game is Draymond Green trying Brook Lopez
Warriors forward Draymond Green was given the entire length of the court to push the ball up and for a moment and it looked like the Bucks were more than willing to let him do it — and perhaps they were because Brook Lopez was already back underneath the rim. Rather than pull up and wait for numbers, Green tried the league’s block leader — and the predictable happened. Lopez rather easily denied Green for his second block in the early going.
Bucks injury report
- Goran Dragić (left knee soreness), probable
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (right hand soreness), questionable
- Wesley Matthews (right calf strain), out
Who do the Bucks play next?
The road trip continues in Sacramento on Monday as the Bucks will face the surprising Kings at 9 p.m. at the Golden 1 Center. The Kings are fighting for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference behind all-stars Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox. Kevin Huerter was a key offseason acquisition and Harrison Barnes is also having a solid season for head coach Mike Brown’s team.