The Golden State Warriors might finally be back firing on all cylinders again. Hosting the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, the Dubs dominated the reigning champions in a 122-109 blowout victory.
Both teams struggled to score early. Shooting less than 40% from the field in the first quarter, they were knotted up at 28 without a scorer in double figures. However, the Bucks defensive strategy set the stage for an explosive run by Klay Thompson. Milwaukee was hyper-focused on keeping the ball out of Stephen Curry’s hands in an even more aggressive than usual defense from Warrior opponents. Taking advantage of the extra space to operate, Thompson knocked down back-to-back jumpers towards the end of the first quarter.
Few players in the NBA can heat up as quickly as Klay. With a couple of sneakers to close the first quarter, Thompson was rolling even after Curry went to the bench at the start of the second. Thompson had one of his best offensive bursts since his return, scoring 17 points in the second quarter alongside solid offensive production from Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins.
Curry struggled to deal with the Bucks’ continued defensive pressure when he returned to the game, but the other Warriors were more than picking up the slack. Curry went into the half with just 5 points on 3 field-goal attempts but had 2 turnovers (and easily could have had more). Despite those struggles, the Dubs led 67-58 behind Thompson’s 21, Poole’s 16, and Wiggins’ 13 points.
Coming out of the half, Poole scored 11 of the Warriors’ first 13 points and led Golden State as they extended their lead to 20 points behind a 13-2 run to start the second half. While Milwaukee continued keying in on Curry, the other Dubs scorers continued making them pay early in the second half. By the halfway mark in the third quarter, Wiggins, Poole, and Thompson all had scored at least 20 points.
Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, and Klay Thompson each have at least 20 points in the same game for the first time since…
— Marc Delucchi (@maddelucchi) March 13, 2022
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo got a little help from Jevon Carter to help cut into Golden State’s lead. However, as soon as Milwaukee cut the lead to 12, Thompson answered with a three to push the lead back to 15. After that, the Bucks were not within a dozen points until garbage time. Antetokounmpo finished with 31 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Thompson remained scorching hot to start the fourth quarter and it only became a question of whether he could score 40 points in the game. With three minutes remaining in regulation, both teams removed their starters.
Curry finished with just 8 points, 8 assists, and 4 turnovers on 3-for-7 shooting from the field, but his impact was felt by the spacing his teammates took advantage of all night. Thompson was the best he’s been since his return, recording 38 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and a game-high +27 plus/minus.
Poole racked up 30 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. Wiggins, who has been in a prolonged slump recently, was 8-for-16 from the field with 21 points and 6 rebounds. Off the bench, Jonathan Kuminga recorded the first double-double of his career with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
After their victory tonight, Golden State is back tied with the Memphis Grizzlies for the second seed in the Western Conference. The Warriors will have one day off before hosting the Washington Wizards on Monday, March 14th at 7:00 PM Pacific Standard Time. Barring an unforeseen setback, the Warriors should be finally welcoming Draymond Green back to the floor after missing the last 30 games with a back injury.
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