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Warriors vs. Bucks Preview: Golden State looks to stop recent skid against Milwaukee

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Tonight’s game is more important for Milwaukee but also a moment for Golden State’s bench as they try to make a lasting impression without the big four.

Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images

Game information

Who: Golden State Warriors (54-20) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (39-35)

When: 7:30 p.m. PST - Thursday, March 29th, 2018

Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, California

How to watch: TNT, CSNBA

How to listen: 95.7 The Game

Blog Buddy: Brew Hoop

Injury Report

Warriors: Stephen Curry (knee), out, Klay Thompson (thumb), out, Draymond Green (flu), probable, Omri Casspi (ankle), doubtful, Kevin Durant (ribs), doubtful

Bucks: Matthew Dellavedova (ankle), probable, Thon Maker (groin), questionable, Malcolm Brogdon (quadriceps), out

Milwaukee isn’t there yet

The Bucks are 5-5 in their last ten games, sitting at an 8-seed that is likely theirs for the keeping. Milwaukee is not without the talent. Jabari Parker just returned to the team, Eric Bledsoe has ignited Milwaukee’s intensity on both ends of the floor. Khris Middleton puts the ball in the basket and Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the best players in the NBA.

Folks like to say that coaching doesn’t matter in the NBA. The Bucks are probably a notch under Philadelphia in terms of raw talent but have much less to show for it. This comes down to coaching. After Jason Kidd’s disastrous tenure in Milwaukee, expect the Bucks’ coaching search to be a main offseason storyline. This team is still missing a couple pieces to contend but there’s a complete lack of philosophy coming from the coaching staff. Moving forward, Milwaukee will need more than “Giannis, figure it out.”

Upswing Dubs

Tuesday’s loss to the Pacers was hopefully the last time the Warriors will be without the entire big four for the rest of the year. Draymond Green should be returning tonight to the lineup after battling the flu. Durant and Thompson should be close behind.

Andre Iguodala’s play since the All-Star Game has been encouraging. In his last five games, he’s shot 44% from three-point range (including a 4-5 game against Utah). If he’s able to maintain that through the playoffs, he’ll be irreplaceable off the bench.

Quinn Cook has shown he can score in the NBA by averaging 17.8 in his last five. And while not every game is a cakewalk for him, he has truly risen to the occasion. Remember, he will be a better player when Durant, Green and Thompson return to the lineup.

We should be encouraged by the future, not dispirited by the present.

The story of tonight

Your guess is as good as mine. If Draymond plays, it’s unlikely he will be at 100%. That said, Green can transform the pace and style of the Warriors on both ends of the floor if he’s at 75%. You can be sure that the Warriors aren’t sweating the result. If anything, the Bucks should be fighting given the 7 seed is still within reach. They should want to play an injured Celtics team more than the Raptors.

Keep your eye on...

Patrick McCaw. Yeah, I said it.

Zeke Upshaw, G-League player and the cousin of one of McCaw’s closest friends, tragically passed away last week after collapsing during the closing seconds of a game.

“Zeke is never going to get to play the game he loves again,” McCaw said. “Knowing that, it’s impossible not to look at things a bit differently.”

What better way to honor Upshaw then to have a big game tonight. Whatever happens, McCaw lost a friend and the world lost a good man. Upshaw played high school hoops blocks away from my childhood home. In high school, I’d drop by to watch him play on Friday nights. He was beloved. Here’s to a big night from Patrick McCaw to honor Zeke Upshaw.