The Golden State Warriors score fewer points when Kevin Durant is expected to lead the offense. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

The Golden State Warriors score fewer points when Kevin Durant is expected to lead the offense. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

3 things to watch for as the Warriors look to rebound against the Bucks

The Golden State Warriors’ last road trip of the season longer than three games starts tonight in Milwaukee against a Bucks team that has struggled to meet expectations thus far.

Here are three factors that you should know about Game No. 43:

1. Length everywhere

The Warriors are credited for being the first organization in pro basketball to embrace “positionless basketball.” But the Bucks have taken the idea to the next level.

Milwaukee typically pairs one diminutive guard (Eric Bledsoe or Matthew Dellavedova) with four players 6-foot-5 or taller.

Despite employing one of the tallest starting lineups in the NBA, it hasn’t led to production on the defensive side of the floor. Quite the opposite: In Jason Kidd’s fourth year as head coach, the Bucks have significantly regressed.

Since leading the franchise to a second-best defensive rating (99.3) in 2014-15, Kidd has seen that number steadily get worse every year. This season, they have the 23rd-best defensive rating (107.6), and it’s cost them.

They’re still in the top 10 for percentage of turnovers forced per possession, but that number has dropped from years past as the focus has shifted more toward offense.

The way the Warriors lose this game is if they submit one of their careless, high-turnover performances. If they can take care of the ball, they should be able to score and win easily.

2. Uncertain degree of difficulty

As of Thursday night, Curry was officially questionable with a sprained right ankle. Golden State has no interest in rushing him back for a (mostly) meaningless pre-All Star Break game, so fans shouldn’t count on his return until the team starts listing him as probable.

But, as was on display Wednesday night when the Dubs were outgunned by the Clippers, the offense sorely misses Curry when he isn’t on the floor.

According to Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey, when Curry plays and Kevin Durant sits, the Warriors score 18.5 more points per 100 possessions than their opponents. When it’s the other way around (Curry out, Durant in) the Warriors beat their opponents by just 6.1 points per possession.

The Warriors are 9-4 without Curry this season.

3. Bucking the trends

Milwaukee, unlike most Eastern Conference teams, does better when playing an unfamiliar foe.

The Bucks are 12-5 this season against Western Conference opponents while carrying a less than .500 record (10-13) when playing teams closer to home.

But that slight advantage doesn’t outweigh a defining trend of the Warriors: They’re 8-0 after losses this season and 49-12 under head coach Steve Kerr.

jpalmer@sfexaminer.comGolden State WarriorsKevin DurantMilwaukee BucksNBAStephen Curry

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A cyclist heads past an artistic sign onto Page Street, a Slow Street, at Stanyan Street near Golden Gate Park on Monday, April 12, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Push to make street closures permanent meets with resistance

Hastily thrown together during the pandemic, Slow Streets program now struggles to build support

Agnes Liang, who will be a senior at Mission High School, is running for one of the two student representative seats on the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Turbulent year on school board leaves student delegates undeterred

Around this time last year, Shavonne Hines-Foster and Kathya Correa Almanza were… Continue reading

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Three people killed in SF shootings in less than 24 hours

San Francisco police were scrambling Saturday to respond to a series of… Continue reading

Muni operator Angel Carvajal drives the popular boat tram following a news conference celebrating the return of the historic F-line and subway service on Friday, May 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Mayor, transit officials celebrate return of Muni service

Mayor London Breed and city transit officials gathered Friday to welcome the… Continue reading

San Francisco police investigated the scene of a police shooting near Varney Place and Third Street on May 7. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD shooting may prompt new body camera rules for plainclothes cops

Police chief says incident ‘should not have happened’

Most Read