Warriors survive scare against Bucks

On March 4, 2013, Draymond Green told SFBay he had never played very well on his birthday.

But on Wednesday night, celebrating his 25th birthday, Green came out of the gate swinging, matching the 10 points from his 2014 birthday in the first quarter alone.

After Wednesday’s contest, Green laughed while trying to remember the last time he had a good birthday game by his standards:

“It was great to come out strong. Like I told you before, I don’t usually play well on my birthday at all, I don’t know why. I think my last good game on my birthday before this game was in 8th grade, so its good to break the slump.”

Golden State continued their momentum behind the birthday boy, taking a 13-point lead late in the first half. But coming off three consecutive losses, the Bucks were in no mood to let the Warriors have anything easy.

Milwaukee’s bench combined for 21 second-quarter points as the Bucks kept the Warriors scoreless to close the half, tying the game 53-53.

Coming out of intermission, the Bucks picked up right where they left off. Led by Michael Carter Williams who finished the night with 16 points, Milwaukee extended its scoring run to 18-0 for a seven-point lead forcing Steve Kerr to call a timeout for the Warriors.

Kerr told SFBay during the timeout the main message was to settle down, to focus on defense and to stop fighting the pressure and just make the simple play:

“The Bucks play like we do with a lot of switching, so we talked about sets that would counteract their switching. But I told them that we were gong to win the game on the defensive end…That’s where it all starts for us. When we defend then we can get out and run and that’s the strength of our team.”

Following the timeout, momentum shifted. The Warriors clamped down defensively and Andrew Bogut ended the drought by getting to the free throw line. Golden State chipped away and with Shaun Livingston coming up big on both ends of the floor and headed into the final frame with a 72-71 lead.

With the game uncomfortably close, Stephen Curry, who had been quiet through the first three quarters, hit three consecutive treys from the same top-left spot on the arc in a span of just 65 seconds giving the Warriors a more palatable cushion.

Kerr said Curry was having one of his worst games of the season then did what very few have ever been able to do:

“That’s why he is Steph Curry. I used to watch that with Michael Jordan on nights where he would miss ten shots in a row and other guys would just clam up. He would just all of a sudden find it with that incredible confidence that was just unbreakable. Steph has that and its what makes him special.”

With following dunks from Green, Livingston, and Andre Iguodala, the Warriors quickly regained a double-digit advantage and sailed through to close the game.

Green continued to celebrate in style, finishing the night with a game-high 23-points to go with 12 rebounds and five assists, anchoring the team in a small lineup that won the game.

The Warriors, now 47-12, stay home to host the Dallas Mavericks Friday and the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday.

Notes

With a record of 47-12 the Warriors have won at least 47 games for the third-straight season, a franchise-first. … Golden State held Milwaukee to 93 points, improving to 29-0 this season when its opponent scores under 100 points. … Stephen Curry posted 19 points on 6-of-16 shooting (6-of-13 from three) to go with 11 assists. It was Curry’s 16th double-double of the season. Curry has now connected on a three-pointer in 51 straight games. He is the first player in NBA history to compile streaks of at least 51 games with a three-pointer in three-straight seasons. … Shaun Livingston led the Warriors’ second unit with a season-high 16 points, scoring in double figures for the third time in the last four games.


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