What we learned as Warriors send message in bounce-back win vs. Bucks

What we learned as Warriors send message in bounce-back win vs. Bucks originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO – Three days after the Boston Blowout, the Warriors bounced back nicely and soundly defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 125-90 on Wednesday at Chase Center.

Stephen Curry came out firing on all cylinders and never really cooled off, scoring 29 points to go with eight rebounds and five assists, finishing a plus-15.

Jonathan Kuminga also came up big with 20 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks to help the Warriors (33-28) notch their 14th win in 18 games. Klay Thompson came off the bench and had 10 points and four rebounds. Andrew Wiggins, back after missing four games for personal reasons, had three points.

Golden State maintained its spot at No. 10 in the Western Conference and pulled within a half game of the idle Dallas Mavericks for the No. 8 slot.

The loss ended Milwaukee’s six-game winning streak. The Bucks (41-22) were paced by 23 points from star Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Three days after being shut down and held to 88 points in a 52-point loss to the Boston Celtics at TD Garden, the Warriors scored 40 points in the first quarter against the Bucks and had 78 at halftime.

Milwaukee came out strong in the second half and got within six, 83-77, midway through the third quarter before Golden State settled down and pulled away.

Here are the takeaways from Wednesday’s game:

Kuminga goes Beast Mode

Kuminga’s development this season has been a major factor in the Warriors’ success, and the young forward definitely was doing his thing against the Bucks.

While Curry drew a lot of attention for his early scoring, Kuminga was busy doing his own work on the offensive end. He repeatedly attacked the rim with his typical ferocity, slicing straight through the Bucks defense like a hot knife to butter.

Kuminga felt so comfortable that he took – and made – a pair of 3-point shots in the second quarter. Later in the second half, Kuminga chased a ball going out of bounds and flipped it back to Thompson for a dunk.

Kuminga wasn’t much of a factor in the loss to the Celtics but he was a man on a mission against the Bucks. The Warriors absolutely have to have more of this from the No. 7 overall pick in the 2021 draft in order to make their late-season push for the postseason.

Numbers crunch

With the Warriors at full strength for the first time in a long while, it only was natural that someone’s playing time would get reduced.

That someone turned out to be Dario Šarić.

Šarić was averaging a little more than 18 minutes a game but was on the bench for most of the contest against the Bucks until checking in late in the fourth quarter. He logged just four minutes of playing time.

Wiggins clocked in for 13:42 minutes while Trayce Jackson-Davis (15 points and seven rebounds in 18 ½ minutes) and Moses Moody (six points in 20:45 minutes) also received extended time off the bench for Golden State.

It wasn’t all that surprising that Šarić’s minutes were cut. The veteran forward has scored in double figures just once in the last 16 games in which he has played and has been somewhat of a liability on defense.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr will continue to jumble his rotations the rest of the way. He has had to do that in the past, but because of injuries and lack of production. He’ll be doing it now because he finally has a full healthy roster and has plenty of options.

Holding court at home

Unlike the last game between the two teams in January, when the Warriors led for most of the game before wilting in the fourth quarter and losing, Golden State withstood an early flurry from Antetokounmpo and held strong when the Bucks made a strong run in the third quarter.

It’s Golden State’s fourth consecutive home win against Milwaukee and the eighth in the last 11 games between the two teams at Chase Center`.

The Warriors are just 17-15 at home this season but have picked up some of their biggest victories in San Francisco. They’ve beaten the Los Angeles Clippers, Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers – all legitimate playoff contenders – at Chase Center during the 2023-24 NBA season.

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