By Gabe Schapiro
They didn’t make it look easy, but the Golden State Warriors (44-26) scratched out a win against the Milwaukee Bucks (13-56), 111-107, Thursday night, at Oracle Arena. Coming into the contest, the Bucks had the worst record in the NBA. However, you wouldn’t have known it from watching the game. The Warriors played far from their best, but you have to give credit where credit is due, and Milwaukee played hard. Despite a big disadvantage in free throw attempts, and an uncharacteristically poor shooting night from beyond the arc, Golden State found a way to hold on.
The game was close throughout. Every time the Warriors made a small run and made people think they were about to run away with it, as they probably should have against an inferior opponent, the Bucks swung back and played tough. Heading into the locker room Golden State grasped a slight 53-51 lead.
After briefly trailing towards the end of the third quarter, the Warriors would lead the rest of the way, but never managed to convincingly put Milwaukee away until the final buzzer rang.
For Golden State, it was their talented backcourt that led the way. Stephen Curry had a game-high 31 points and 11 assists. He was one of the few Warriors to have some success from three-point range, hitting three-of-five. Klay Thompson wasn’t nearly as efficient, but added another 29 points.
Andrew Bogut had a strong game going up against his former club. He finished with eight points and 12 rebounds. David Lee contributed his nearly customary double-double, posting 22 points and 12 boards.
On the negative side, Harrison Barnes struggled mightily starting in place of the still out Andre Iguodala. He failed to score a point on seven field goal attempts, to go along with two turnovers. The bench also had a pretty quiet night, outside of a solid 12 points from Jordan Crawford in just 12 minutes of play.
For the Bucks it was a true team effort that made the Warriors sweat it out. A whopping seven players finished in double figures, four of whom did it from the bench. Brandon Knight was the standout, producing a team-high 27 points and six assists.
Golden State will rarely be able to turn in this kind of performance and still eek out a win, but thankfully they timed it against a bad team at home. They’ll need to clean up their mistakes for their next matchup against the best in the West, the San Antonio Spurs. The game is this Saturday, March 22, at 7:30 PM, at Oracle Arena.