3 min read

Thunder vs. Bucks: Pregame Primer

Thunder vs. Bucks: Pregame Primer



Thunder (42-20, 17-12 road) vs. Bucks (26-36, 18-11 home)

TV: FSOklahoma
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 1300 AM The Buzz Tulsa)
Time: 2:30 PM CST

Team Comparisons (per NBA.com/Stats)

  • Offensive Rating: Thunder – 109.8 (2nd), Bucks – 102.0 (24th)
    Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.0 (14th), Bucks – 105.5 (21st)

It was already known that the 12 games after the All-Star break would be the toughest stretch of the season for the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was a stretch that featured the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers twice and the Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs each once. In between, though, there would be opponent that would be very beatable if the Thunder brought their A game. Well, 8 games into that 12 game stretch, the Thunder have failed to win any of the tough games and have even lost 2 of the 4 easier games.

With the toughest part of the 12-game stretch over with, it is time to regroup and look to get better in the last 20 games of the regular season. That starts today against the Milwaukee Bucks. From here on out, the rest of the schedule is road-heavy, but it features a ton of winnable games. The Thunder are currently embroiled in a battle over the third seed with the Clippers, but luckily face Los Angeles at home for the remainder of the season.

On Friday, the Thunder brought in former Thunder center Nazr Mohammed to act as a veteran sage for a team that appears to be in a tailspin. Mohammed was a part of the last Thunder team that made it to the Finals and has seen everything there needs to be seen in the NBA, to include slumps and win streaks. Mohammed won’t play much, but hopefully his calming presence will have an affect on this Thunder squad, that is still relatively young.

Series History

This is the 2nd and final time the Thunder and Bucks will play this season. The Thunder won the first meeting 131-123 in a game that saw Khris Middleton light the Thunder up for 36 points. The high scoring affair featured 10 players that scored in double figures between the two teams.

The Opponent

The Milwaukee Bucks come into the game playing much better than they did to begin the season. They’ve won 6 of their last 10 games as their main players have started to gel. The forward combination of Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo have started to mesh after Parker has seemingly recovered from the torn ACL he suffered last season. Their defense is still their Achilles heel, especially with Greg Monroe in the middle.

In the backcourt, Michael Carter-Williams is a physical specimen, but still struggles to put that all together on the court. Khris Middleton is one of the best 3-point shooters in the league and can get hot in an instant.

3 Big Things

1. Perimeter Defense

This is one of the worst three point shooting teams in the league. Don’t allow them to beat you from the three-point line.

2. Durant vs. Antetokounmpo

A lot like Kawhi Leonard, Antetokounmpo has the physical tool to give Durant fits on the defensive end. Antetokounmpo is still learning, but his length and athleticism will be something to behold in the future.

3. A New Start

The Thunder haven’t necessarily played bad. They just haven’t played great, which is what they’ve needed in the last 8 games. With the schedule letting up a bit, now is the time to forget the past 8 games and look forward to the next 20 (and beyond). The Thunder are hoping to be playing their best basketball heading into the playoffs, and that starts today.

Thunder Killer

Khris Middleton – Please see what he did last game.