SAN FRANCISCO -- The Milwaukee Bucks are coming to town Wednesday, and they’ll walk into Chase Center with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the exalted status that comes with owning the best record in the NBA.
This means the Warriors, to give themselves a chance to win, must summon their A-plus game -- as they did on Christmas Day against the imposing Houston Rockets.
Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6:00, with tipoff for the ESPN telecast scheduled for 7:10, followed by postgame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area immediately after the final horn.
The Warriors (9-29) afflicted by a series of injuries have spent most of the season in the cellar of the Western Conference. They should get a boost, though, as Draymond Green will be back in the starting lineup after a one-game absence. D’Angelo Russell, who has missed the last four games, returned to practice on Tuesday but still is listed as out.
The Bucks (32-6) are coming off a stunning 126-104 loss – their worst of the season -- at San Antonio on Monday night. Milwaukee has not lost consecutive games this season. Since losing two of their first four games, the Bucks have not lost twice in the same week.
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F Khris Middleton
F Giannis Antetokounmpo
C Brook Lopez
G Wesley Matthews
G Eric Bledsoe
F Glenn Robinson III
F Draymond Green
C Willie Cauley-Stein
G Damion Lee
G Ky Bowman
Bucks: F Giannis Antetokounmpo (back soreness) is listed as probable. G George Hill (illness) is listed as out. G Frank Mason III and G/F Cameron Reynolds are on assignment with the Wisconsin Herd of the G League.
Warriors: G Stephen Curry (left hand fracture), C/F Kevon Looney (left abdominal soreness), G D’Angelo Russell (right shoulder contusion) and G Klay Thompson (left ACL rehab) are listed as out.
Bucks: Antetokounmpo’s numbers: 30.2 ppg (55.3 FG pct.), 12.8 rpg, 5.6 apg. Simply staggering considering this: 31.0 mpg. No one in NBA history has averaged 30 ppg while playing less than 34 mpg ... Never known as a great shot blocker, Brook Lopez is averaging a career-high 2.6 bpg, second in the league ... Hill’s absence might be significant. He’s averaging 10.2 ppg off the bench and leads the league in 3-point pct. at 51.8 ... More of the bench scoring burden falls on G Donte DiVincenzo and F Ersan Ilyasova and G Kyle Korver, who combine to average 23.0 ppg ... Six of their top nine rotation players shoot better than 36 pct from deep ... The Bucks lead the NBA in defensive rating (102.2), opponents FG pct. (41.3) and rpg (51.5). They have not been held below 100 points and are outscoring opponents by an average of 11.6 ppg. If they continue on that pace, it would be the highest differential since the 1995-96 Bulls ... Milwaukee’s 32-6 represents the best start in the history of the 52-year-old franchise.
Warriors: With Russell listed as out, coach Steve Kerr likely will keep his two-way guards, Bowman and Lee. If both play, their remaining NBA-activity totals would be five days for Bowman and one for Lee ... Lee is averaging 14.3 ppg over the last 13 games, 11 of which he started while shooting 38.5 pct from deep ... Green, who will spend considerable time defending Antetokounmpo, admits it’s a challenge: “I haven’t played this Giannis.” Green last faced Giannis before the Bucks star had won an MVP award ... F Omari Spellman 15-of-23 from the field, including 5-of-9 from deep over his last three-game, averaging 21.4 mpg during that span ... If the Warriors are looking for a weakness in Milwaukee’s defense, they’ll find it beyond the arc. Opponents are shooting 37.0 pct. from deep against the Bucks. Only five teams are more vulnerable there. On the other side of that, the Warriors are shooting 33.4 pct. from distances, tying Orlando for fourth-worst in the league.
Officials: Ken Mauer (crew chief), Derrick Collins, Derek Richardson.