3 keys for the Milwaukee Bucks starting road trip vs Golden State Warriors

Jan 13, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 13, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Wesley Matthews. Golden State Warriors: Steph Curry, Gary Payton II
Jan 13, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

As the regular season slowly starts to wind down, it seems like the Milwaukee Bucks are heating up. The reigning champs are riding a six-game win streak as they open their second West Coast road trip against a Golden State Warriors team that has had an interesting stretch of games lately.

This, of course, will be the second and final meeting between these two championship contenders. The Bucks blew the doors off the Warriors back in mid-January at Fiserv Forum. The Warriors didn’t have Draymond Green for that one (and likely won’t tonight either) while the Bucks were without Jrue Holiday.

I don’t think you should expect another blowout, but the Warriors have struggled lately, going 4-9 in their last 13 games. Two of those wins have come in their last couple of games, though, so perhaps they’re righting the ship a little bit.

Priority number one for the Milwaukee Bucks is to focus on Steph Curry

Any time you play the Warriors, this is the first, second, and third priority, especially when Green is out. Even though Steph Curry has been underwhelming by his standards, he’s still capable of having those huge performances and you need to keep tabs on him when you’re defending.

In the last game, the Bucks held Curry in check to 12 points on 50.5 percent true shooting, limiting him to 11 shots. By Basketball Reference’s game score metric, that was one of his 10 worst games this season.

Again, they didn’t have Holiday for that game, which makes it even more impressive. On a lot of Curry’s offensive possession, he was face-guarded by guys like Wesley Matthews (he was the primary defender) and Donte DiVincenzo (who is no longer with the team), and they tried to deny him the ball as much as possible.

They’ll have Holiday for this one, which will be a very fun one-on-one matchup to watch, but when Holiday isn’t out there, I’m very interested to see how much time Jevon Carter spends on Curry. Carter has been able to mesh very well very quickly with the Bucks as another great point of attack defender behind Holiday. But even when those two play together, Carter can pick up the primary ball-handler to give Holiday a break.

A big reason why the Bucks were able to build such a big lead against the Warriors is that they have so many bodies to throw at Curry and can be physical with him. Expect more of that tonight.