The Golden State Warriors have won two straight games and seven of their last nine overall, and they’ll have a chance to build on their winning ways when they go up against the Milwaukee Bucks Thursday night in the second contest of a five-game homestand.
The Warriors have won just twice in their last nine matchups against the Bucks, including a 101-80 win on Jan. 7, but there’s nothing to suggest the Dubs can’t pull off another victory on Thursday night.
Milwaukee’s list of struggles this season is seemingly never-ending. Aside from owning the worst record in the NBA, the Bucks are 2-24 against teams from the Western Conference, they’ve won just five games on the road (in 33 tries). They’ll also roll into ORACLE Arena in the midst of a five-game losing streak. Even so, this is the NBA, and they play the games for a reason.
This season, the Bucks have received solid play from Brandon Knight, who has established himself as a reliable scorer (17.5 PPG) and a solid distributor (4.9 APG) given what he has to work with. John Henson has also proven to be a reliable option off the bench, shooting an efficient 53.2 percent from the floor at the center position.
Milwaukee Bucks (13-55) Projected Lineup:
PG: Brandon Knight
SG: Nate Wolters
SF: Khris Middleton
PF: Ersan Ilyasova
C: Zaza Pachulia
Key Bench Players: Ramon Sessions, John Henson
Keys to a Warriors Victory:
As was the case with the Orlando Magic, the Bucks really don’t have much in the way of offensive weapons that could hurt the Dubs. But when it comes to stopping Henson, who ranks seventh among NBA centers in field-goal percentage this year (14th among all positions), the Warriors big men will have to show up to play.
Andrew Bogut remains a game-time decision, though the San Francisco Chronicle’s Rusty Simmons said Bogut’s ankle was in good shape following the Warriors shootaround earlier on Thursday. One has to imagine that with the extended break coming up for the Dubs, Bogut wouldn’t mind giving it a go tonight with the assurance that he’ll have time to rest up over the next several days.
Get Harrison Barnes Going
Andre Iguodala will miss Thursday night’s game, meaning the Warriors will once again ask Barnes to step up in their swingman’s absence. Barnes recorded just one field goal (on six attempts) in his 31 minutes of game time on Tuesday, and he’s shooting just 33.8 percent from the field in March.
Going up against an opponent like the Bucks presents a great opportunity for Barnes to get rolling and head into the home stretch on a high note, especially considering the Dubs will need him to be productive once their schedule heats up a bit.
7:30 PM PST, March 20, 2014
ORACLE Arena, Oakland, CA
TV: CSN Bay Area
Radio: KNBR 680 AM