OAKLAND (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 32 points, Kevin Durant’s return from a rib injury ended early with a second-quarter ejection, and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Golden State Warriors 116-107 on Thursday night.
The Bucks beat the Warriors for just the second time in their past 10 meetings and stayed five games ahead of Detroit for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Sidelined by a fractured rib the previous six games, Durant argued after no foul was called on a drive through three defenders. Official Tre Maddox whistled him for a technical foul, then gave him another and tossed him with 2.4 seconds left. Khris Middleton converted two free throws to cap an 11-0 run that gave Milwaukee a 58-49 halftime lead.
Still without Stephen Curry (ankle sprain) and Klay Thompson (broken thumb), the Warriors lost their third straight game and seventh in their past 10 outings. Houston clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, and Golden State fell a game behind East-leading Toronto for the NBA’s second-best record.
This wasn’t what Warriors coach Steve Kerr had in mind when he said during his pregame news conference, “It should be a lot more fun” with the return of Durant and Draymond Green.
Durant had 10 points, six assists and three rebounds in 17 first-half minutes. Green, who had missed the three previous games with a pelvic contusion and flu-like symptoms, contributed 11 points and six assists.
But the Warriors never threatened again after Durant was tossed. The All-Star forward leads the NBA with five ejections and now has 14 technical fouls, two short of the threshold for a one-game suspension.
The Bucks led 92-72 after three quarters. Middleton scored 23 for Milwaukee. Antetokounmpo scored 30 for the sixth time this month, the 21st time on the season.
Quinn Cook, starting for Curry, set a career high with 30 points to lead the Warriors in scoring for the fifth time in the past seven games.
Bucks: Guards Malcolm Brogdon (left quadriceps) and Matthew Dellavedova (right ankle), both sidelined since February, remained out with no timetable for their return, according to interim coach Joe Prunty. Center Thon Maker (right groin) missed his third straight game.
Warriors: Kerr said Thompson could return as soon as Saturday at Sacramento, but isn’t even certain to play on Sunday at home against Phoenix. “It’s day to day, but it’s getting close,” he said.
Thompson missed his eighth straight game with a fractured right thumb.
Warriors: At Sacramento on Saturday.
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