Programming note: Bucks-Warriors coverage starts Friday night at 6:30pm with Warriors Pregame Live on CSN Bay Area, and streaming live right here.
OAKLAND – Within minutes of dispatching the Phoenix Suns, the Warriors late Wednesday night set their sights on their next opponent.
The Milwaukee Bucks, ordinarily nondescript, but not in this instance.
For one, the Bucks last Saturday in Milwaukee snapped the Warriors’ season-opening win streak. For two, the Bucks relished their upset win to such a degree that the Warriors couldn’t help but notice it and record it in their minds.
So when the Bucks set foot in Oracle Arena on Friday, the Warriors want more than mere vengeance. They want, figuratively, the sight of Milwaukee blood on the floor.
“We circled that game last week,” said Klay Thompson, still damp from his post-game shower – or maybe from scoring 43 points in 31 minutes against Phoenix.
“We don’t want to lose to a team twice this season,” he added. “And we only see them twice. So we’ve got to send a message when they come to our building.”
The Warriors dragged into Milwaukee at 3am Saturday morning, having played a double-overtime game in Boston Friday night. Interim coach Luke Walton conceded this week that under normal circumstances, without the win streak on the line, he would have rested a couple players against coach Jason Kidd’s struggling team.
The Bucks were fired up at the chance to face not only the defending champions but also the team that had won its last 28 regular-season games. And when the Bucks put the finishing touches on their victory, they savored it.
“I got subbed out with a minute left,” Stephen Curry recalled, “so I had some time to take it all in. Things were going their way pretty much the whole game, but especially down the stretch in the fourth quarter. So we were kind of just laughing at some of the stuff that was going on.
“It was a big game for them. Friday will be a big game for us.”
If there was one moment that provoked a particularly cranky reaction from the Warriors, it was Milwaukee point guard Michael Carter-Williams glaring and growling at the Warriors bench after getting a steal and a dunk in the final minute.
“It was a nice celebration,” Curry said with a clear undertone of sarcasm.
Warriors forward Draymond Green caught it all. During an interview with KNBR’s Tom Tolbert on Tuesday, Green noted that Carter-Williams recently had been demoted to reserve status and, perhaps “it’s not quite common that you should be looking toward someone’s bench yelling when you’ve got some ground to make up.”
Thompson acknowledged that he could, to a point, understand the joy the Bucks felt in toppling the Warriors. But, the demonstration seemed to him rather flagrant.
“There’s nothing wrong with the dunk,” Thompson said. “But the stare-down and the trying to talk mess in a game like that?
“It’s like, ‘Alright, you realize you’ll see us next Friday, in our building, too?’ So that’s going to be fun.”