Rookie James Wiseman looked good once again. He had 18 points and a team-high eight rebounds, while Stephen Curry led the way with 19.
Kris Middleton was on fire for the Bucks. He connected on six-of-eight 3-pointers and finished the game with 31 points. Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo had 15 points and 13 rebounds.
A cool 20 and counting for Khris. pic.twitter.com/xHItGlH1UB— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) December 25, 2020
Here are four takeaways from the Warriors’ loss:
The defense needs a ton of work
Golden State looks disjointed, which isn’t surprising considering the turnover and youth on the roster. The Warriors look like a team that hasn’t played together a lot, which has resulted in poor communication and understanding on the defensive end. Middleton chewed the defense up, and just like in the loss to the Brooklyn Nets, Golden State was way too slow on second and third rotations.
Being better offensively will also impact the defense. The Warriors were slow getting back after long misses, which allowed Milwaukee to keep Golden State’s defense from ever getting set.
Draymond Green’s return will help. Wiseman spoke about that after the game.
“Everybody will be motivated when he’s back, everybody will have an edge, everybody needs to bring intensity,” Wiseman said. “Draymond [Green] just has that aura and that presence ... I can feel it in practice, everyone can feel it in practice.”
Ice cold from the outside
The Dubs had plenty of open looks beyond the arc but couldn’t hit consistently. Golden State shot just 10-of-45 from the 3-point line and is shooting just 25% over the first two games. It was only a 10-point game at the half, but any hope of a Dubs comeback was derailed because the team shot just two-of-16 from beyond the arc in the second half.
Many of the Warriors’ misses resulted in easy transition buckets for Milwaukee. The Bucks outscored the Dubs 20-10 on fast-break points and had their way with a porous Golden State defense.
The Nets dominated the Warriors in the open-court last game, finishing with a 28-12 advantage on transition buckets. Head coach Steve Kerr will have to adjust his squad’s game plan to make sure they’re getting back on defense, especially off of misses.
Kelly Oubre Jr. needs to figure things out sooner than later.
Oubre was awful for the second game in a row. He made just one out of his 10 field goal attempts and is shooting a woeful 16.6% from the field, and has missed all 11 of his 3-pointers over the first two games.
The Dubs clearly need more from Oubre, who was acquired to help offset the injured Klay Thompson’s loss. Oubre forces things too much and needs to be more effective cutting to the rim and trying to get some easy buckets.
The $14.3 million man hasn’t looked comfortable playing next to Curry. Oubre has to move better without the ball to find the open spaces and knock down some shots. His shooting chart is below.
Kerr acknowledged that Oubre hasn’t been sharp and needs to make some adjustments to get him and Andrew Wiggins going.
“It’s always difficult to go to a new team. It’s just the way it is in this league. New terminology, new style of play, new teammates. It’s only been two games.
Kelly’s going to be fine, Andrew’s going to be fine. Those guys are proven players in this league. I’ve got to do a better job of putting them in positions to get comfortable too.”
Wiseman will get more minutes
Wiseman has outplayed Kevon Looney and Marquese Chriss through the first two games. The rookie is a difference-maker on the court and should start to his minutes increase as his conditioning improves. Any questions about his outside shooting have been answered. He has hit four-of-five attempts from the beyond the arc to start his career, and he has the potential to be the second option on offense behind Curry.
Kerr knew he was getting something special once they interviewed Wiseman before the draft.
“His confidence came across when we interviewed him, and his confidence comes across every day,” Kerr said. “You can see why. He’s got a ton of talent. He’s a skilled big man, he’s got a lot to his game, so we are going to continue to work with him and help him learn the NBA game.”
Green has a chance to play next game and he should help tighten things up on the defensive end. Even with Draymond back, this team has a lot of question marks. The Warriors play the Chicago Bulls next and need to come out and play with more energy and toughness. If they don’t the concerns are only going to grow.