Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks Just Put the League on Notice

The Bucks came into Oakland and laid a beatdown on the Warriors, showing their credentials as a favorite in the Eastern Conference.
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The Bucks only needed three quarters to run the Warriors out the gym Thursday.

Bet you weren’t expecting to read that sentence.

Sure, Draymond Green wasn’t playing. Still, Milwaukee posted 105 points in just 36 minutes in Oracle Arena and led Golden State by 26 points.

Plenty expected the Bucks to be good, but through 11 games, they look scary good. There’s no need to add “darkhorse” before you say this team is a contender to win the East this season.

The offense is having no trouble putting up points and the defense can disturb even the best offenses when it gets locked in.

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Through three quarters Kevin Durant (minus-28), Klay Thompson (minus-27) and Stephen Curry (minus-26) had no answers for Mike Budenholzer’s squad. Durant had six turnovers. Curry was without a three-pointer. Thompson had 23, but without Green behind him, he was unable to get Golden State’s defense in attack mode.

It’s one thing to go into Oakland and win. It’s another thing to go into Oakland and win by 23 (134-111). But when you walk into Oracle and don’t even have to play Giannis Antetokounmpo in the fourth quarter, well that’s next level. I said they were scary, but that’s almost 2014-15 Warriors scary.

Budenholzer’s impact is clear. 23 assists through three quarters, and 33 for the night. In a game where all 12 players played, all but four had multiple assists and seven had at least three. Even the almost-assists were impressive.

I'd like to believe there’s an alternate reality where Giannis finished that dunk and the crowd just started filing out the arena right then and there.

Only eight of the 40 buckets Milwaukee made in those first three quarters were threes. And of the Bucks' 17 free throws, 10 came from Antetokounmpo. They forced 14 turnovers through three quarters and kept the defending champions on edge all night. The long arms all over the court kept the defense buzzing.

Eric Bledsoe had a season-high 26 and Pat Connaughton was putting people on posters en route to 15 points to lead the bench.

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And when shots like this are going in, it’s clear even the basketball they were playing with wanted to see them win.

“We’ve arrived.” Antetokounmpo told TNT’s Kristen Ledlow after the game.

There’s only but so much of a statement that can be made in November. However, Giannis is right, the Bucks have arrived.

Let’s hope they stay around for a while.