The Golden State Warriors have built the best 26-game start in NBA history with a businesslike approach.
The next game will be a little personal, however.
The Warriors get a chance to avenge their lone loss when the Milwaukee Bucks limp into Oakland for Friday night’s matchup.
Milwaukee sent shock waves throughout the league by ending the Warriors’ 28-game regular-season winning streak with Saturday’s 108-95 victory. Michael Carter-Williams capped the upset with a late dunk he followed by glaring at the Golden State bench, a move which drew the ire of several Warriors.
“We remember what happened less than a week ago,” Stephen Curry said following Wednesday’s 128-103 bounce-back win over Phoenix.
Even if Golden State didn’t have that additional motivation, Milwaukee (10-17) faces an uphill task in achieving a season sweep. The Bucks have lost 11 straight on the road and won’t have top scorer Greg Monroe for a third consecutive game due to a Grade I MCL sprain in his left knee.
Monroe played an integral part in the victory over the Warriors, tallying a season-high 28 points along with 11 rebounds and five assists.
The Bucks have averaged 89.0 points during their road skid. Including playoffs, Golden State (25-1) hasn’t scored fewer than 90 at home in 70 straight outings. The Warriors have won 29 straight in Oakland in regular-season play.
Having Klay Thompson at full strength also figures to hinder Milwaukee’s chances. The All-Star guard was held to 12 points and 4-of-14 shooting as he dealt with a sprained ankle in last week’s meeting, but scored a season-high 43 against the Suns.
“It’s good to have a few big-scoring games here or there just to let teams know they can’t focus so much on Steph,” said Thompson, who went 8 of 13 from 3-point range. “Just (to) give him some balance out there because he’s going to get every team’s greatest look every night.”
The Warriors also should be more fresh for the rematch. Last week’s loss was the finale of a grueling seven-game, 13-day road trip, but they’ll play for just the second time in six days Friday.
Milwaukee has dropped the first two games of a four-game western swing. After opening with a lackluster performance in Tuesday’s 113-95 defeat to the lowly Los Angeles Lakers, the Bucks showed more will Wednesday but lost 113-90 to the Clippers.
“The fight was there and the intent was right,” coach Jason Kidd said. “The guys played hard, but the ball did not fall for us. The effort was extremely high, but we just could not make the plays when we needed to.”
Carter-Williams had 17 points in the latest defeat and has averaged 17.7 in a three-game stretch, a result of his increased role with backcourt mates Greivis Vasquez and Jerryd Bayless sidelined by ankle injuries. The point guard totaled 17 points, seven assists and five steals against Golden State.
With Monroe out, the Bucks will lean more heavily on Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, who scored a season-high 19 on Saturday.
Milwaukee had lost four straight to the Warriors.