Streak over for exhausted Warriors

MILWAUKEE — It was one hour before tipoff on Saturday, and a slightly dazed Luke Walton wore the look of a guy who had boarded the wrong plane.

“We got here around 3 (a.m.), I think,” the Warriors’ interim coach told a reporter. “But don’t ask me. I don’t know what town we’re in right now.”

Then Walton added with a wry smile, “I’m not even sure about the time zone.”

For the record, the Warriors were in Milwaukee, Central time zone. And for that other record, they finally lost a basketball game for the first time this season.

A highly stoked Bucks team handed the Warriors a 108-95 loss at BMO Harris Bradley Center, which put an end to their historic 24-game win streak, the NBA record at the start of a regular season. The Champs hadn’t tasted defeat for 46 days — or, actually, since mid-June.

The Warriors also fell short in their bid to become the first team to sweep as much as a seven-game road trip in league history.

“You go 25 games before getting your first loss, it’s definitely weird (to lose),” said Stephen Curry, who scored a team-high 28 points. “You forgot what the feeling is like. But I like the way we’re handling it. No one is down. We’re all pretty proud of what we accomplished. We were very unlikely to go 82-0, so this moment was going to happen at some point.”

Said Walton: “Losing sucks. Even if you’re 24-1, losing still sucks. I’m sure with the long flight home, we’ll have guys unwinding a little bit. I bet there will be a little relief mentally going forward from this point on. It was a lot of fun.”

The Warriors never led by more than three points in the game, yet they only trailed 80-77 at the end of three quarters. But they had no answer for Greg Monroe, in particular. The center had his way inside in the final quarter, when he scored 11 of his team-high 28 points.

The outcome had no small bit of irony. At Milwaukee Arena, still in business one block away, the Bucks snapped the record 33-game win streak of the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1971-72 season.

The Warriors weren’t beaten by the Bucks as much as injuries and the schedule.

Klay Thompson returned from a one-game absence but missed 10 of 14 field goal tries in 30 ineffective minutes. His status wasn’t determined until minutes before game time, when it was decided his sprained right ankle was fit to play.

“We missed shots, man,” said Thompson, who insisted the injury didn’t affect his performance. “Nobody stops us.”

The Warriors were without a second starter in Harrison Barnes, who sat out the road trip because of a sprained left ankle.

Barely 23 hours earlier, the Warriors outlasted the Boston Celtics in double overtime for their 24th victory in a row. The winners were too spent to celebrate afterward.

Walton called off the morning shootaround to give his players more rest, but physically, they showed signs of a beaten team hours later.

Draymond Green threw up an airball in the first minute. The Warriors were a step slow at the other end, and the Bucks bolted to 14-5 lead in the first four minutes.

At that point, Green and Curry went to work and pulled the Warriors to within 30-28 at the close of the quarter. But they couldn’t sustain the momentum and trailed 59-48 at halftime.

The point total was the lowest for the Warriors in a game this season. They shot only 23 percent from beyond the arc and 41 percent overall.

“They were everywhere,” said Green, who finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds. “We missed a lot of shots that we normally would make, but you have to give the a lot of credit. They were swarming all over the place.”

Perhaps the Warriors’ most overlooked accomplishment during the streak was that they gave fans a reason to follow the early NBA season. They did it in sleepy basketball towns such as Milwaukee, whose pro team has struggled for decades.

When Michael Carter-Williams sealed the outcome with a steal and slam in the final seconds, the rare sellout crowd was raucous.

“When the average ticket price goes from $40 to $190, you know what the fans are here to see,” ex-Buck Andrew Bogut said.

The streak might have been over, but Curry still wasn’t done. He met with a local cancer victim after the game. She became a fan of the Davidson product when he played in college.

Now the Warriors head home, where they can get back to basics and begin another streak against the Phoenix Suns at Oracle Arena on Wednesday night.

“On the road trip, we found ways to win games, but I don’t think we ever played our A-plus game,” Curry said. “The big goal of the season is to find that as we go into the playoffs.”

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