Game Thread: Bucks/Thunder

Sad in Seattle: Slipping on another jersey.

Bucks (0-1) @ Thunder (0-0)

Gametime: 7:00 p.m. central time

Lineups:

Bucks: Luke Ridnour / Michael Redd / Richard Jefferson / Charlie Villanueva / Andrew Bogut

Thunder: Earl Watson / Kevin Durant / Jeff Green / Chris Wilcox / Nick Collison

Injuries:

Bucks: Luke Ridnour started yesterday in spite of a sore back earlier this week.  Andrew Bogut is playing with a sore ankle. Tyronn Lue left last night's game after taking a shot to the midsection.

Thunder: Mouhamed Sene (knee) and D.J. White (jaw surgery) are out.  Russell Westbrook sprained his ankle on Tuesday but is expected to play.

07/08 Series:

Dec 7: Sonics 101 Bucks 95

March 5: Bucks 118 Sonics 106

07/08 Advanced Stats:

Bucks: Offense 21st (105.3 points/100 possessions) Defense: 30th (112.8) Pace: 17th (91.3)

Thunder: Offense 29th (100.5 points/100 possessions) Defense: 22nd (109.5)  Pace: 5th (96.4)

Three points:

  • The Bucks don't have a forgiving schedule early, with a rather unheard-of eight back-to-backs in the first month and 12 of their first 18 on the road.  Their first B2B started last night with a 108-95 loss in Chicago, and the only games in the next month that won't be part of a back-to-back are November 5 vs. Washington, November 24 at Orlando, and November 26 at Atlanta.  That would make a win in OKC all the more valuable--while there should be plenty of energy in the building for the Thunder's first game, the Bucks' only other road game against supposedly lesser competition will be in mid-month against Memphis. The Thunder are 250-1 to the win the title, and rank dead last in Stein's, blogger's, and many other's power rankings. This, here, is a should-win.
  • Keeping a surely amped Thunder team off the line is one key to victory. The Sonics shot only 22.8 free throws per game last year, barely more than half as many as the Bulls shot (44) against the Bucks last night. Scott Skiles' bunch was indeed aggressive on defensive, but the Bucks didn't deviate from the norm of allowing triple digits on the scoreboard.
  • Kevin Durant averaged 29.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks against the Bucks last season. He shot 47.4 % from the field, and made 20-22 from the stripe. Needless to say, those are some of the finest numbers he put up against anyone in the league as a rook. These aren't last year's Bucks though. Richard Jefferson is here, and should give Redd some help, though last night Redd carried the offensive load with 30 points as Jefferson struggled through a 5/17 debut. Durant averaged 13.5 points on 34.6 % from the field against Jersey last season. Not only that, Jefferson averaged 29.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 2.0 steals on 53.8 % from the field against Seattle. And Oklahoma City actually resembles Seattle (on the floor) more than Milwaukee 2008-09 resembles Milwaukee 2007-08.

Coverage:

Bucks.com / The Oklahoman / The Thunderwold / Blue Blitz / Bend it Like Bennett

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