Antetokounmpo, NBA-best Bucks earn tough win over Warriors

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks own the best record in the NBA and coach Mike Budenholzer still wants far more than what he has seen the past two games.

More made shots. More pace. More energy. Better ball movement, too.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 30 points and 12 rebounds while leading four Milwaukee starters in double figures, and the NBA-best Bucks held off the Golden State Warriors 107-98 on Wednesday night.

“Sometimes you’ve got to find a way to win kind of the ugly games, and I’m proud of the group for doing that,” Budenholzer said. “… We made just enough plays.”

Khris Middleton added 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists as Milwaukee — with the NBA’s best record at 33-6 — bounced back with a hard-fought victory against the young Warriors after having its five-game winning streak snapped in a 126-104 loss at San Antonio on Monday.

Alec Burks scored 19 points and Glenn Robinson III and Damion Lee added 15 points apiece for the cold-shooting Warriors, who lost their sixth straight game and third in a row at home. Willie Cauley-Stein contributed 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo shoots as Golden State Warriors’ Willie Cauley-Stein defends. PHOTO: AP

Draymond Green was back for Golden State after sitting out Monday with a sprained right ankle and had five points on one-for-seven shooting, eight rebounds and eight assists.

“Our pace was not great in the first half and it picked up in the second half,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “I thought we were a little tentative in the first half. They’re a great team, obviously the best team in the league and the best defence in the league.”

The Bucks overcame a cold shooting performance of 40.2 per cent to win their third straight game on Golden State’s home floor, playing for the first time at new Chase Center on Wednesday.

Antetokounmpo notched his league-leading 32nd double-double after continuing to deal with a sore back. He shot one for seven on three-pointers and converted nine of 13 free throws.

Kerr was fined USD25,000 by the NBA on Wednesday for verbally abusing a game official and failing to leave the court in a timely manner following an ejection.

Kerr was ejected late in the second quarter of the Warriors’ 111-98 road loss to the Sacramento Kings on Monday night after getting hit with consecutive technical fouls by referee Jason Goldenberg.

Kerr appeared initially upset about a continuation call that went the Kings’ way, then erupted after Golden State did not receive a similar call. He angrily walked onto the court after the second technical and yelled at Goldenberg before leaving.

“I took my punishment and try to move on,” Kerr said.

Warriors two-way players Ky Bowman and Lee have been counted on so heavily they are down to their final days of permitted NBA service time, with Bowman scheduled to return to Santa Cruz of the G League and Lee expected to be signed on soon to stay with Golden State. He had one remaining available day after Wednesday.

Bowman will go back once D’Angelo Russell is healthy to return. That had been expected to be Monday at Sacramento but he sat out that one and then missed a fifth straight game Wednesday with a bruised right shoulder.

Golden State has the most points by its two-way players of any team with 580.

“We are just like the drunken sailor with fifty bucks left in his pocket,” Kerr said, “we are going to spend it until it runs out and figure it out from there.”