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What we learned as short-handed Dubs lose hard-fought game vs. Bucks

What we learned as short-handed Dubs lose hard-fought game vs. Bucks originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

BOX SCORE

Playing the second half of a back-to-back on the road, the Warriors hung tough for most of the night against the Milwaukee Bucks but faded late in the fourth quarter and lost 129-118 on Saturday night at Fiserv Forum.

The loss, which came while coach Steve Kerr gave Stephen Curry a rare day off, dropped Golden State’s record to 18-21. The Warriors have dropped seven of their last 10 games.

Unlike many of their recent games, the Warriors showed plenty of positive signs in the second game of the road trip.

Rookie Brandin Podziemski, playing in his hometown, started in place of Curry and continued to make a case as one of the scrappiest, most efficient players on the roster. Podziemski had his third double-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.

Jonathan Kuminga came off the bench and had a team-high 28 points. Klay Thompson had 21 points and made six 3-pointers to move past LeBron James on the NBA’s all-time list.

One night after committing a season-low five turnovers, the Warriors took it a step further against Milwaukee with just four turnovers.

Golden State’s defense, which continues to be an issue, actually took a big step when they limited the Bucks to 54 points in the first half. That stopped a three-game streak when the Warriors allowed 70 points or more in the first half.

But the defense couldn’t hold up in the end, when the bigger Bucks pulled away and held on for the win.

Here are the takeaways:

CURRY GETS A DAY OFF

Having pretty much carried the Warriors throughout this up-and-down season, Curry finally was given a much-needed day off by Kerr. The wear and tear on Curry has been noticeable lately. Over his previous four games, the nine-time NBA All-Star shot just 30 percent overall from the floor (21 of 70) and made 13 of 44 attempts beyond the arc.

Given the state of the team, Curry is almost certainly going to have to continue to shoulder the bulk of the workload at point guard. That’s why getting him some rest now will be key to the Warriors’ potential for success moving forward.

In Curry’s absence, Podziemski and Cory Joseph took turns running the point. Thompson also spent time bringing the ball up court and running the offense.

ATTACKING THE PAINT

Usually a team that lives on the perimeter with their 3-point prowess, the Warriors changed things up and were more effective being aggressive and attacking the paint rather than shooting from the outside on Saturday.

That was significant considering the Bucks’ interior defense is anchored by 6-foot-11 star Giannis Antetokounmpo and the 7-foot-1 Brook Lopez, while the Warriors were missing their top scoring threat.

Yet Golden State showed no fear when driving the lane and did a nice job of kicking out if the defense was too much. The Warriors scored 60 points in the paint, matching the Bucks’ scoring output inside.

Golden State was averaging more than 40 3-point attempts before the game in Milwaukee, but was 13-for-31 against the Bucks.

SECOND UNIT SHINES

With Curry on the bench, the Warriors needed some offense from wherever they could find it. The bench, once again, provided exactly that.

Kuminga once again was a dominant figure and scored in double figures for his 19th consecutive game, shooting 10 of 18. He had a game-tying three-point play in the fourth quarter after drawing Bobby Portis’ fifth foul of the game.

Trayce Jackson-Davis chipped in with 12 points, and the seldom-used Lester Quinones also got in the act and matched his career high of nine points.

Overall, the short-handed Warriors bench held a 49-23 advantage over the Bucks.

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