Kevin Durant hit a 27-foot dagger with just over two minutes to go as the Stephen Curry-less Golden State Warriors began their five-game road swing with a win, dispatching the Milwaukee Bucks, 108-94, on Friday.
On a night when Curry missed out for the second time in as many games, a longtime streak ended and the hometown kid stepped up, here’s what we learned …
Durant’s calf strain is nothing but a distant memory. And that’s great news for the Warriors in light of Curry’s current ankle plight. After dropping 40 points in his return, Durant was once again the star of show, scoring a game-high 26 on yet another efficient night from the field (12-for-20).
Durant has poured in 66 points in 67 minutes in his first two games back, while posting a 68.4 field-goal percentage. With 17 points in the first half, Durant carried the Warriors to a 63-49 advantage at the break before drilling the aforementioned dagger with 2:18 left in the fourth.
Draymond Green knows when the game calls for a more aggressive offensive approach. While head coach Steve Kerr often talks about Curry’s “gravity,” the two-time MVP’s impact can also be described in a far more quantitative way.
Heading into the night, the Warriors averaged 120.8 points per game with Curry in the lineup and 105.7 without. In Curry’s absence, Green seized a more prominent offensive role, delivering his second 20-plus point outing in the last three games.
The reigning DPOY went for 21, while corralling plenty of rebounds (10) and dishing out his share of assists (7).
What happened to Klay Thompson? While Green rose to the occasion with Curry out, the other Splash Brother was nowhere to be found. Thompson was 0-for-2 from beyond the arc, bringing an end to his run of 95 consecutive games with a 3-pointer. That streak stands as the third longest in league history.
It would have been difficult to predict that Thompson would lose his streak on a night when Curry, who averages 10 3-point attempts per game, wasn’t on the floor.
It was a strange night for Thompson. The nonchalant guard played carelessly in the first half, was berated by a Bucks’ fan under the basket and ended up with only 12 points on 11 shots.
The SoCal native really does love the sun.
While Thompson was off, Nick Young was on — at least when he had the chance to make his mark. Young was 3-for-3 from the field — including 2-for-2 from beyond the arc in the opening half. The backup guard didn’t attempt a shot during his four minutes of second-half play.
Mr. Basketball shines in his return home. Kevon Looney once again thrived when Kerr called his number. Looney, who was born in Milwaukee and named Mr. Basketball during his senior season of high school, was the first center off the bench.
After totaling exactly four minutes of action over the past two games, Looney enjoyed 23 minutes of run and made it count. Looney had eight rebounds — six on the offensive glass — while totaling nine points and three assists.