It started with a nice ovation from the crowd at Oracle Arena during pregame introductions and only got better for Milwaukee guard Monta Ellis.
Behind 26 points from Ellis and 31 from backcourt mate Brandon Jennings, the Bucks handed Golden State its second home loss in as many days winning 103-93 before a sold-out crowd of 19,596.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson could have seen it coming.
After being traded during his playing career, Jackson said he felt like he had something to prove when he played against his old teams.
“I wanted to cook them,” he said. “I gave all the right answers, but my mentality was I wanted to win first and foremost and show them what they were missing.”
If those were Ellis’ goals too, he succeeded.
The longtime Warrior showed not a lot has changed since his departure from Golden State nearly a year ago to the day. He came out firing (ten first-quarter points) and the Warriors went right at him on the other end with the player who effectively replaced him, Klay Thompson (nine first-quarter points).
At one point in the third, Ellis banked home a three in front of Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber and afterwards appeared to have yelled something in their direction.
Ellis denied saying anything targeted at the Warriors owners.
“I wouldn't do that. I've never done that,” he said. “I never talked noise in my career. You never know, I might have to come back here and retire. Who knows?”
As Ellis approached the tunnel at the end of the game, several Warriors fans had gathered around and cheered as he disappeared on his way to the locker room. He said he appreciated the positive reception from the Golden State fans.
“I loved it. I was here seven and a half years. I did everything I could for this team, and they appreciated it and I appreciate them,” Ellis said. “Even though we had bad seasons they still came out here and supported us.”
The Warriors’ mood in their locker room was about as somber as it has been all year.
“You lose two in a row at home when you’re trying to gain ground up the ladder in the playoff race,” said guard Stephen Curry when asked what made this one particularly disappointing. “We knew coming off the last road trip when we didn’t finish that off well that we had an opportunity with seven in a row at home to try and win every single one of those games. Losing a tough one against a team that is right behind you last night and you have an opportunity to forget about that and come out and play better tonight and we didn’t do that.”
Again, it was sloppy play on the part of Golden State (35-29) that contributed to the loss. The Warriors turned it over 17 times, which led to 23 points for Milwaukee (31-29).
“We were careless,” Jackson said. “In that first half we had 18 field goals and 14 assists and took care of the basketball. Third quarter again hurt us --“ just turned the ball over. Disappointing loss, disappointing loss.”
Golden State trailed just 88-87 after a jumper from Carl Landry with four minutes, seven seconds left, but couldn’t keep pace down the stretch.
J.J. Redick hit back-to-back threes to extend the Milwaukee lead to 96-87 with 2:44 left and the Warriors couldn’t recover. Fans started to filter out of the arena shortly after Redick’s second three as the Warriors again failed to take advantage of a home game.
Landry, who started in place of injured all-star forward David Lee, and Thompson both finished with 18 points to lead Golden State (35-29). Curry added 16 and Jarrett Jack had 11 off the bench.
After taking a 48-47 lead into the half, Golden State turned in a lackadaisical third quarter and trailed 77-70 headed to the fourth. However, unlike Monday against Toronto when the Warriors erased a seven-point deficit by scoring 42 fourth-quarter points to win by seven, they couldn’t flip the script.
Malcolm Thomas, who the team signed to a 10-day contract on Friday, made his first appearance, nearly equaling his career rebound total (3) with a pair of boards in just over three minutes of floor time.
“I thought he did well,” Jackson said. “He gave very good energy, defended, got a couple rebounds. I thought he did well for a guy that really … we didn’t spend time with him showing him what we’re trying to do so on the floor we tried to keep it as simple as possible and he did well.”
#WarriorsTalk Tweet of the Game
The answer is yes.
David Lee Sits
All-star forward David Lee missed Saturday’s game due to the knee contusion he suffered Friday against Houston. Before the game, Lee said he will not miss any more game as a result of the injury.
Next up – New York
After scoring 54 points against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, all eyes will be on Stephen Curry on Monday when the Warriors host New York. Despite the NBA season-high from Curry, Golden State lost 109-105, but has still taken 15 of the last 20 from New York.
Phoenix 107, Houston 105: A day after winning in Oakland, Houston lost despite 38 points from James Harden. The Rockets (34-30), remain a game back of Golden State for the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference.
New York 113, Utah 84: Utah (32-31) didn’t have a single starter score in double figures as it lost its fourth straight game to fall into a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for No. 8 in the Western Conference playoff race.