Quinn Cook's 30 Point Explosion not enough to POwer Warriors past Bucks after Durant's Ejection, Bucks Win 116-107
After a stretch of losses without several of their key players, the Golden State Warriors (54-20) took on the Milwaukee Bucks (39-35) at home while looking to bet back into the win column. While the Warriors have been without several of their key players in the recent weeks, today they would be graced by the return of Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. The all star duo would be looking to help get the team back on track and in the win column after losing two straight games. The Bucks were in the midst of a stretch of basketball that is among the worst they have played all season, going 5-5 in their last 10 games. The Bucks would go on to Warriors 116-107
The Bucks started off the first quarter with a bang thanks to their star player, Giannis Antetokounmpo. He had five points in the first two possessions, hitting a nice mid range jumper before nailing a three. The Warriors couldn’t buy a basket for the first several possessions, but when the shots did start to fall, a lot of them fell. JaVale McGee got the barrage started with a dunk, and then KD hit a three, Quinn Cook nailed two threes on back-to-back possessions, and then Pat McCaw nailed an open three after some nice ball movement that the team has been missing for weeks. The three point barrage forced the Bucks to call a timeout after just five minutes, and the Warriors led 14-12. After that initial timeout, both teams were able to keep their offenses rolling and they went shot-for-shot with each other for the next five minutes before the next timeout. Quinn Cook and Kevin Durant both had their shots working, as they both knocked down a mid range jumper each, Durant’s was a three-point play. Giannis was spectacular for the Bucks, and quite literally doing it all, knocking down trees, dunks, and everything in-between. At the end of the quarter, Giannis had 11 points on 5/8 shooting. He was the leading scorer for the Bucks, and right behind him was Khris Middleton, who had nine points on 4/6 shooting, and for some reason he was always wide-open in the mid-range. The Warriors were being led by Kevin Durant, who had 10 points, and those points came in all shapes and sizes, from the three ball, to the and-one mid range jumper, to the acrobatic layup. Quinn Cook was among the quarter’s leading scorers with eight points on 3/3 shooting. JaVale McGee had six points and had a nice first quarter. As a team, the Warriors were shooting 57.9% from the field, and that included shooting 66.7% from three. The Bucks also shot the ball extremely well at 56.5% overall and 66.7% from three. After the first quarter, the Bucks led 29-27.
The second quarter started with a bang, and that bang came in the form of a three from Draymond Green. The quarter did not go well for the Warriors though, as they continued to turn the ball over and give possessions away. By the time the quarter ended, the Warriors had committed 14 turnovers. The Warriors had a 49-47 lead with just over two minutes left in the quarter, but the Warriors committed several turnovers and couldn’t score, which opened up the floor for an 11-0 Bucks run that put them in the lead by halftime. Quinn Cook overtook Kevin Durant as the leading scorer for the Warriors, and had 11 points at the half. Kevin Durant had 10 points, and was unable to score in the second quarter. Durant got ejected for the fifth time this year as the quarter came to a close, and he was ejected for arguing and yelling at a ref. Durant was very visibly frustrated with the lack of fouls being called in his favor, and he may have had a point due to the fact that Giannis and KD were playing pretty physically with each other without any calls from the refs. Giannis was still the leading scorer for the Bucks with 17 points on 8/11 shooting, and Khris Middleton was the next-highest scorer with 11 points. As a team, the Bucks were shooting 54.3% from the field, but their three point percentage had dropped to 40%. The Warriors were shooting much better than the Bucks at 57.1% from the field and 66.7% from three, but were down due to their knack for turning the ball over. At the half, the Bucks led the Warriors 58-49.
The third quarter without Durant went about as well as you would expect it to. The Warriors were outscored, out hustled, and out defended by the Bucks. The turnover count had risen to 16 by the time the quarter ended, and that wouldn’t have been as much of a problem if the Warriors were able to score or get to the line with some regularity. Quinn Cook was still the leading scorer with 13 points, but JaVale nearly caught up with him after some impressive dunks in the third quarter, he had 12 points. Pat McCaw also had a couple nice plays, and was actually able to get to the free throw line, and had 10 points by the end of the quarter. Giannis was up to 28 points, and basically doing whatever he wanted to whoever was defending him. Both Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton were the next highest scorers with 18 points apiece, and Bledsoe was especially hot down the stretch of the third. After the third quarter, the Bucks led 92-72.
The fourth quarter saw the Warriors go on a couple nice runs to close the massive gap on the Bucks, but ultimately fell short and ended up losing. Quinn Cook was able to get even hotter than he already was though, and ended up notching a new career-high with 30 points. He got those 30 points on 12/15 shooting, while also grabbing four rebounds and dishing out four assists. Kevon Looney played really well down the stretch, and made some really nice plays on Giannis. As the Warriors got the deficit to 13 points, the Bucks got nervous and put their starters in, and the starters were able to build their lead back up thanks to some nice shooting from Giannis and Middleton. Giannis was the leading scorer for the Bucks with 32 points, and he also grabbed four rebounds, dished out five assists, and picked up two steals. In reality, there was no way that the Warriors were going to win this game after KD was ejected, the Bucks are the third best shooting team in the league, and the Warriors were without all three of their leading scorers in the second half. The Bucks beat the Warriors 116-107.
The only real takeaways that can come out of this game are that Kevin Durant and Draymond Green both appear to be healthy and ready to rock in the playoffs. Durant had 10 points before being ejected. Draymond was oozing energy on both ends all night, and was playing some great defense while he was in the game. He looked like himself and that is all you can really ask for at this point. Quinn “The Sous Chef” Cook was dominant once again as the starting point guard, and if he can keep this up heading into the playoffs, then there is not as much of a reason to rush Stephen Curry back for the first round. Kevon Looney has been playing his best basketball of the season for the last couple of weeks, and that is another great sign for the playoffs, as he will play some crucial minutes against a big-time opponent.
The Warriors do have to worry about injuries to a couple other players now though. In tonight’s game, Andre Iguodala hurt his knee, and is day-to-day, and Nick Young sprained his ankle. The Warriors need to avoid injuries to any more key players down the stretch because of how crucial a role that the veterans play off of the bench. The veterans are extremely important due to the fact that Pat McCaw has struggled with his shot all season, and it hasn’t gotten much better. If I was in charge of the Warriors rotations at this point, which I’m clearly not, I would rest all my key guys for the majority of the remaining games, to make sure that they are as healthy as possible when the playoffs start. I would put them all in bubble wrap until the last couple games so they can get into a rhythm.
The Warriors play their next game on Saturday, March 31, in Sacramento against the Kings at 7 p.m.