MILWAUKEE (AP) – Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks made sure coach Mike Budenholzer had an easy first night on the job.
Antetokounmpo had 30 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists to help Milwaukee rout the Golden State Warriors 118-99 on Thursday night when Budenholzer’s return from the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols. Antetokounmpo achieved his third triple-double of the season and the 28th of his career.
Budenholzer missed four games while on health and safety protocols, with assistant Darvin Ham taking over as interim head coach. The Bucks went 1-3.
“I think Coach Darvin did a great job strengthening himself, leading the team, coaching the team and holding us accountable,” said Antetokounmpo. “But obviously it’s great to have Coach Bud back healthy and happy and to get us ready to go.”
Khris Middleton added 23 points, Bobby Portis 20 and Grayson Allen 15 for the Bucks.
Milwaukee never trailed, running with a 77-38 halftime advantage and giving the Warriors their fourth loss in five games. Antetokounmpo had 23 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in the first half.
“I think we were well focused tonight,” said Budenholzer. “I think when it starts on the defensive end, that’s usually when we’re at our best. A team like the Warriors, a player like (Stephen) Curry and (Klay) Thompson, they bring out the best in you. They bring out the highest concentration.
The Bucks were just two points off their biggest halftime lead in franchise history, a record they set this season. Milwaukee led 77-36 at halftime in a 123-92 victory over Orlando on November 22.
“We just got off to a terrible start where everything went wrong on both ends of the pitch,” said Curry.
The Warriors lacked Draymond Green due to strain in his left calf, which also kept him from losing in Memphis on Tuesday night and had him play under a minute on Sunday in a win over Cleveland .
Milwaukee missed guard Jrue Holiday for a fourth straight game. Holiday missed a win on Jan. 2 in Brooklyn while in NBA health and safety protocols and has since missed three games with a sore left ankle.
Golden State dominated the Bucks in the second half and reduced the deficit to 18 on Juan Toscano-Anderson’s 3-pointers with 9:39 to go, but that’s as close as the Warriors would get.
“I know we just got our asses kicked, but we’re having a hard time in our season,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It happens to every team, every year pretty much with a few exceptions. We are in a bit of a rut and we were playing against a team that was ready and played a very good first half. We’re a bit irrelevant. We just need to get back on track, and we will.
Andrew Wiggins led the Warriors with 16 points. Jonathan Kuminga had 15, Curry 12 and Thompson 11.