Matt Barnes, Stephen curry help Golden State Warriors surge past Milwaukee Bucks

By Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange   |   March 19, 2017 at 8:17 AM
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors were so desperate in the wake of Kevin Durant's knee injury earlier this month, they turned to a Sacramento Kings castoff for help.

For 12 minutes Saturday night, it appeared to be a brilliant move.

Veteran Matt Barnes contributed seven points, four rebounds and two assists to a second-quarter explosion that allowed the Warriors to overtake the fast-starting Milwaukee Bucks en route to a 117-92 victory.

Stephen Curry scored a game-high 28 points on 9-for-13 shooting as the Warriors shot 60 percent in completing a perfect 3-0 homestand.

"It just felt good being home," Curry's sidekick, Klay Thompson, said of the weeklong homestand after having played eight games in eight cities. "Mother Nature was on our side. Just seeing the sun out every day. It was nice."

The Warriors (55-14) moved 2 1/2 games ahead of the San Antonio Spurs (52-16), losers against the Grizzlies in Memphis on Saturday, in the race for the top spot in the Western Conference standings.

Meanwhile, despite losing for just the second time in their last 10 games, the Bucks (34-35) fell into a tie with the Miami Heat (34-35) for the final two Eastern playoff spots, with the Detroit Pistons (33-36) and Chicago Bulls (33-37) not far behind.

"We got frustrated because we weren't making shots, and that's not who we are," Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. "We rely on our defense if we're not scoring. That's where it got away from us. The second quarter killed us."

Playing the second half of a back-to-back, the Bucks shocked the Warriors with a 23-9 flurry to open the game. Rookie center Thon Maker scored six of his nine points in the run.

But the game's last 42 minutes -- especially the next 18 -- were all Golden State.

"A lot of teams get off to good starts against us because they're fired up and ready to go," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "We were resilient. I actually liked the way we were playing (early on). Things just weren't going our way."

Curry nailed a pair of 3-pointers -- his first two of six in the game -- to help the Warriors close within 29-27 by period's end, but the real Golden State fireworks were yet to come.

Barnes, a 37-year-old veteran of nine NBA teams, entered the game at the start of the second quarter and played the entire 12 minutes, during which Golden State outscored Milwaukee 36-15 to create a 63-44 halftime advantage.

The Warriors' lead was just 40-38 before Barnes buried consecutive 3-pointers and Curry added a pair in a 23-6 spurt that created the 19-point halftime advantage.

"He doesn't have to make shots to be effective," Kerr said of Barnes, who is in his second tour of duty with the Warriors. "He's a jack of all trades. He keeps us going."

Golden State coasted home after the halftime break, winning for a fourth straight time at home over the Bucks while completing a season-series sweep.

Thompson scored 21 points and Andre Iguodala 15, and Draymond Green recorded a game-high 10 assists to complement eight points and eight rebounds for the Warriors, who outrebounded the Bucks 44-35.

Barnes finished with a game-high nine rebounds and a game-high-tying plus-22 plus-minus ratio.

"Mission accomplished," Curry said of bouncing back this week from a stretch of five losses in eight games. "We talked about that when we got back from the road: Get back to who we are."

Rookie Malcolm Brogdon led five Bucks in double figures with 18 points.

"They really got into a rhythm -- they got to cutting, moving and passing -- and I think we were worn down a bit," noted Brogdon, whose team was playing its fourth road game in six days.

The Bucks were coming off a 107-103 win against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.

Tony Snell (12 points), Greg Monroe (12), Khris Middleton (11) and Mirza Teletovic (10) also scored in double figures for the Bucks, who fell to 2-2 on their six-game trip.

Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo missed 10 of his 14 shots and was limited to nine points, three rebounds and three assists.

The Bucks shot 40.4 percent for the game.

NOTES:

-- Warriors coach Steve Kerr disclosed before the game that injured SF Kevin Durant (sprained knee) will make the trip to Oklahoma City for the Warriors' game against the Thunder on Monday night even if he's still at least a couple weeks away from being able to play. It will be the Warriors' second game in Oklahoma City since Durant left the Thunder as a free agent in the offseason. After watching Durant shoot jump shots at the arena earlier in the day, Kerr reported, "He's clearly making progress. It's great."

-- The Warriors improved to 31-0 when shooting 50 percent from the field.

-- The Bucks' Jason Kidd, a San Francisco Bay Area native, fell to 2-6 in his coaching career against the Warriors. He compiled a 38-15 record as a player against Golden State.

-- The 25-point margin of victory kept the Warriors at nine wins this season by 30 or more points, still one shy of Milwaukee's NBA-record 10 in 1971-72.

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