Warriors observations: What we learned in 122-121 win vs. Bucks

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Monte Poole
·3 min read
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What we learned in Warriors' win over Giannis-less Bucks originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

With their postseason goals quickly becoming a speck in the distance, the Warriors summoned a fourth-quarter comeback that let them breathe for a few days.

Thanks to a 122-121 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night at Chase Center, the Warriors snapped their three-game losing streak, with a pair of winnable home games coming up later this week.

The Warriors trailed 113-103 with 4:31 remaining before closing with a 19-8 burst that concluded when Kelly Oubre Jr. made a pair of free throws with 7.7 seconds remaining to provide the winning margin.

Steph Curry scored a game-high 41 points, on 14-of-21 shooting from the field and 5-of-10 beyond the arc.

Here are three observations from a game in which the Warriors (24-27) took advantage of the Bucks (32-18) without two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was sidelined by knee soreness.

Wiseman gets audacious

In the wake of a several subpar games, the rookie has been hearing it from all corners in recent weeks. He even says he’s ignoring the negative social-media sniping. This performance, though, ought to bring a few days of peace and quiet.

Playing with attitude and purpose, Wiseman posted his third career double-double ... in the first half, with 11 points and 10 rebounds. No less impressive, he had no turnovers and no fouls in those 16 minutes.

After a low-impact second half, Wiseman finished with 13 points, on 6-of-13 shooting, 10 rebounds and two assists.

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The first-half show was the J-Wise the Warriors, players and coaches and executives, have been waiting for, having insisted he would come. If Wiseman brings this level of energy on a consistent basis, the numbers are bound to rise and the outside noise will begin to fade.

Even with a couple missed defensive rotations, the first half was Wiseman’s most encouraging stretch in any game to date.

Warriors overcome Wiggins' loss in key matchup

The Warriors figured they needed a standoff, or something close, in the small-forward matchup of Andrew Wiggins and two-time All-Star Khris Middleton. They got nothing of the sort.

Middleton outscored Wiggins 28-9 and, moreover, was the catalyst during a four-plus-minute stretch of the third quarter in which Milwaukee wiped out a two-point deficit and built an eight-point lead.

Middleton in the quarter scored 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting, over nine minutes, while Wiggins was scoreless on 0-of-5 shooting.

Wiggins was 4-of-15 for the evening, including missing an open 3-pointer in the final seconds. Middleton’s total came on 10-of-19 shooting, including 2-of-4 from distance.

Insofar as Wiggins has been shooting so well since the All-Star break last month, this was a discouraging turn of events for the Warriors.

RELATED: Kerr discusses difficulty of Dubs' roller-coaster season

Warriors' defense continues to slide

When the Warriors were at their best, it was because their ferocious defense was triggering their voracious offense. Defense was, and is, their best hope of getting beyond this slump.

First, however, they have to find it. It did not appear in this game.

The Bucks shot 51.8 percent from the field, including an astonishing 43.8 percent from deep. That the Warriors went through so many offensive dry spells was largely due to the failure to get stops.

This is the fifth opponent in seven games to shoot better than 50 percent against the Warriors, who have lost four of the five games.

The squad that in February posted the best fourth-quarter defense in the NBA has been vaporized before a rumor of it resurfaced late in this game.

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