How will the Milwaukee Bucks look to attack against the league’s best defense?
While everyone focuses on the 3-point shooting of Curry and Thompson as well as the overall dynamism of the Warriors’ offense, their strength this season has been an elite defense.
They rank first in the NBA for defensive rating by a full two points per 100 possessions over the second-best defense at 102.1. Led by Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner Draymond Green, the Warriors have been shutting teams down through the first half of the season.
The Bucks, on the other hand, have been a below-average offense in their last five games, with a 108.4 offensive rating that ranks 20th. The good news is that the Warriors’ offense has been even worse in their last five games, with a 100.2 offensive rating that is dead last over their last five games.
So how do the Bucks attack the Warriors’ elite defense? Like most games, it starts with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Green will likely miss the game tonight as he’s dealing with a calf injury, so that’s a good sign for the offensive fortunes of Antetokounmpo and the Bucks offense.
In Antetokounmpo’s lone game against the Warriors last season, they won by nearly 40 points but it wasn’t because of the two-time MVP. He was held in check with 15 points on 4-of-14 shooting. It was Khris Middleton (31 points) that led the way, but he’ll be in tough against Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, and Gary Payton II.
They also force a ton of turnovers, which is a problem when the Bucks don’t have a true point guard available that can play reliable minutes.
Still, Golden State not having Green available should make it much easier for the Bucks to attack the rim. That, in turn, will free up shots for Allen, Connaughton, and others. However, after a few rough shooting performances recently, we can’t assume they’ll make the defense pay.