ORACLE ARENA — He came. He saw. He conquered.
Monta Ellis returned to Oracle Arena and stayed just long enough to receive a standing ovation from the crowd before tip off, wipe the floor with the Warriors, and receive more fan praise before leaving Saturday.
The Milwaukee Bucks, led by Ellis and Brandon Jennings, won 103-93, handing Golden State its second-straight loss.
Before Saturday’s game, Warriors head coach Mark Jackson talked about how it felt to face an old team when he was a player:
“I wanted to cook them. I gave all the right answers, but the mentality was I wanted to win first and foremost and show them what they were missing.”
Well, the Bucks won, and everyone saw what the Warriors were missing. Defensively, the Dubs couldn’t keep up with Milwaukee’s ball movement and speed. Offensively, things were just ugly.
After watching a couple disappointing Warrior possessions early in the second half, WarriorsWorld reporter Ethan Strauss put things into perspective:
2nd half's started as gracefully as a drunken potato sack race.
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) March 10, 2013
The game seemed to almost get away from the Warriors when Carl Landry came to the rescue. Landry, who started in place of All-Star David Lee (right knee contusion), scored 11 of the teams 20 points in the second quarter, and finished the game with 18 points, 10 rebounds.
But Landry was not enough to save the Warriors from being trampled by the Bucks backcourt duo of Ellis and Jennings who combined to score 57 of Milwaukee’s 103 points.
The Bucks decided the pace of the game after halftime. Ellis, who finished with 26 points, five assists, and five rebounds, banked in a 3-pointer, drove straight past the Warriors defense and pressured guard Stephen Curry to turn the ball over multiple times.
Meanwhile, Jennings put on a shooting clinic hitting 6-of-11 from downtown and finished the night with a game-high 31 points and 10 assists.
After the game, Ellis said that it was Milwaukee basketball and his teammates knocking down shots that made the game open up:
Bucks guard Monta Ellis
“In the second half we made them miss shots. We rebounded the ball well. We were able to get out and run and play our style of basketball.”
The Warriors had multiple chances in the final frame to tie the game and get back into it, but was never able to capitalize on the opportunities.
Golden State closed the deficit to 88-87 with 4:08 to play but the Bucks went on a 8-0 run capped off by back-to-back 3-pointers from J.J. Redick. That would increase the lead to nine points and Milwaukee would finish with a ten point edge.
Curry finished the night with 16 points and 10 assists, but also led the team in turnovers. With 1:10 left on the game clock and the Bucks up 98-90, Jennings forced Curry’s fourth turnover, and the crowd started to clear out of the arena.
Curry is feeling the pressure of the season winding down and said that he’s frustrated with how things are going:
Warriors guard Stephen Curry
“You lose two at home, trying to gain ground up the ladder in the playoff race. …Losing a tough one last night playing against a team right behind you, and getting another opportunity at it tonight and we didn’t get that, so the timing of it right now is just frustrating.”
Jackson continued to try to sound reassuring after the game, but the disappointment of the loss, and recent losses was all too evident:
Warriors coach Mark Jackson
“Careless basketball. Unacceptable. We have to close out basketball games on both sides, offensively and defensively. When it gets to a point where we are closing out games the stakes are going to be raised and pressure is going to come and you have to be able to embrace and handle it.”
Up next, Golden State will host the Atlantic division leading New York Knicks at Oracle Arena on Monday night. Jarrett Jack knows opposing teams are playing better and right now the Warriors aren’t compensating.
Warriors guard Jarrett Jack
“A lot of teams at this particular point of the season are a lot better than when we played them in November and December. At that moment of the season, rotations are shorter, guys are healthy, guys are in shape, teams are starting to hit their stride. Either they’re playing to push into the playoffs or playing for a playoff position to try to make a final push for proper seeding. We got to understand that teams are better and we’ve got to raise our level accordingly.”
The Warriors remain in sixth position in the Western Conference, just one game ahead of Houston who also lost on Saturday. But right on their heels are the Jazz and Lakers, who are both 2-1/2 games back of Golden State for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
The Bucks swept the two game season series against the Warriors and have won seven of the last eight in the series, including 10 of the last 15 at Oracle Arena. … Golden State has allowed 28 threes in the last two games (15 by Houston) (13 by Milwaukee) … Milwaukee led for most of the second half including the entire fourth quarter. … The Warriors have sold out 20 consecutive home games. Overall, the team has sold out 22 of 29 home games. … Warriors center Andrew Bogut played for the first time against his former team. Bogut had four points, nine rebounds, four assists in 29 minutes.