Preview 7 of 82: Thunder @ Bucks
TV: NBA TV / Fox Sports Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS (98.1 FM OKC / 97.1 FM Tulsa)
The Oklahoma City Thunder enters Milwaukee with a 3-3 record and fresh off Saturday’s 101-69 shellacking of the Chicago Bulls. Despite romping through the Windy City over the weekend, there have been equal amounts good and bad through the first six games of the season. Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony are still very much acclimating to their new basketball reality, and Billy Donovan is busy tinkering with rotations in order to find what he likes best. But even with the team still far from its final form, there’s a lot of weaponry on the Thunder sideline.
Milwaukee currently sits at 4-2, and will test OKC’s defense using length, and a whole lot of Giannis Antetokounmpo. The way-too-early MVP favorite is averaging 34.7 points, and 10.7 rebounds through six games, adding 5.5 assists and 63 percent shooting to make it all the more impressive. He’s flanked by a group of long, athletic shooters, and part of an offense that’s shooting 49 percent from the field — trailing only the Golden State Warriors.
Tip-off is at 7 PM CT on NBA TV and Fox Sports Oklahoma.
- Greg Monroe: Out — Calf
- Jabari Parker: Out — Knee
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- Giannis Antetokounmpo is on an absolute heater through the Bucks’ first six games. He’s averaging 34.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists and shooting 63 percent from the field. Paul George and Andre Roberson should have their hands full with him all night.
- Bucks big man Greg Monroe will be missing in action for two weeks due to left calf soreness. As such, Thon Maker will get the start at center. Steven Adams should be able to have his way with the skinny 7-footer, but Maker’s ability to stretch the floor should occasionally pull Adams out of the lane and open things up for the Bucks offense. John Henson will also see extended run in Monroe’s absence. He scored 12 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in Sunday’s win against Atlanta.
- Milwaukee is ripe with long shooters, particularly in Tony Snell and Khris Middleton. Snell is averaging 9.7 points on 44 percent from downtown in the early season. Middleton is averaging 17.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists, but is shooting just 25 percent from deep. Josh Huestis and Jerami Grant should be in line for decent minutes tonight, as Billy Donovan will likely try to throw length in their direction.
- Reigning Rookie of the Year, Malcolm Brogdon, is averaging 15.8 points on 48 percent shooting from long range. The game is being billed as Westbrook versus Antetokounmpo, but the battle at point guard should be plenty interesting.
- The Thunder currently lead the NBA with 11.5 steals per game, and are giving up the fourth least amount of points at 96.5 PPG.
- Westbrook is averaging 20.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, and leading the league in assists at 12.2.
- The two teams split last season, 1-1.
Antetokounmpo discusses the showdown with Westbrook. Via Bucks.