Thunder Vs. Bucks: Milwaukee Hits The Big Time Again As Kevin Durant And Russell Westbrook Come To Town


2011/2012 NBA Season

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vs.
28-28 (15-12 home)
41-15 (17-10 road)
April 9, 2012
Bradley Center
7:00 PM
Radio: 620 WTMJ TV: FSN Wisconsin
Probable starters:
Brandon Jennings
PG Russell Westbrook
Monta Ellis
SG Thabo Sefolosha
Carlos Delfino SF Kevin Durant
Ersan Ilyasova
PF Serge Ibaka
Drew Gooden C Kendrick Perkins

(9th) 106.0 - OFFENSE - 109.7(2nd)
(17th) 105.1 - DEFENSE - 103.0 (10th)
(4th) 93.3 - PACE - 92.9 (6th)

On the Thunder: Welcome To Loud City / Daily Thunder / Thunder Rumblings

This is a gigantic week for the Milwaukee Bucks. They sit just one game out of the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff bracket, and with games against the Oklahoma City Thunder (Monday), New York Knicks (Wednesday), Detroit Pistons (Friday) and Indiana Pacers (Saturday), it's time to find out exactly how good this team can be in 2012. If this week got any bigger for Bucks, it might just collapse onto itself like a neutron star.

Check Your TV Guide: FSN ran into a scheduling conflict with the Bucks and Brewers, but baseball is the sport you will find on your normal FS-Wisconsin channel when tip time rolls around. However, the network has provided a list of alternate channels that should allow you to see the game live if you are in-market.

Current programming planned for FOX Sports Wisconsin alternate channel: CLICK HERE

FOX Sports Wisconsin Alternate Channel Listings:

Provider Channel Location

Time Warner Cable (HD) 310 (SD) 1310 (HD) Milwaukee, Green Bay, Other Markets
*Will not be carried in the Upper Peninsula

Charter Communications 323 Madison, Eau Claire, Other Markets

DirecTV 658 (SD) 658-1 (HD) Wisconsin

Dish 444 (SD) 9514 (HD) Wisconsin

Seven Of Ten: The Bucks have ripped off wins in seven of their last 10 games -- victories over the Bobcats (2x), Hawks, Cavs (2x), Wizards and Blazers and losses to the Pacers, Knicks and Grizzlies -- and they suddenly find themselves back at .500 for the first time since Jan. 2. In order to claim a winning record again (they had one for three days back at 2-1 overall), they need to beat the red-hot Oklahoma City Thunder, who have also won seven of their last 10 contests.

To add another level of intrigue, the playoff race in the Eastern Conference has turned into a desperate scrum between the Bucks, Sixers and Knicks largely because Philadelphia has slipped into a terrible losing streak. How bad has it gotten for the 76ers over the last 10 games? You guessed it; they've lost seven of their last 10. And what about the Knicks? They've won seven of their last 10 games, of course.

The Turnover Battle: OKC has a really good offense. There's no way to deny the obvious talent gap between the Bucks and the Thunder. Westbrook, Durant and Harden are impossible to stop all at once, which is why the Thunder own the top TS% in the NBA (57.0 percent). It's scary to think that the only two Bucks players above the Thunder's team average are Ersan Ilyasova (57.2) and Mike "Basketball Reasons" Dunleavy (61.5), but everyone knows Oklahoma City has premium scoring talent. The question is: what's the best chance to beat them?

As it turns out, the Thunder tend to isolate-and-attack defenders in their half-court offense. It can be a good thing (they rank 1st in isolation efficiency and 2nd in Free Throw Attempts per Field Goal Attempts), but it can also be a bad thing (they have highest turnover rate in the league and rank just 27th in assist rate). The Bucks' defense has been less than impressive this season, but one area they continue to excel in is forcing opposing offenses into a high rate of turnovers.

Milwaukee holds the fourth-highest mark when it comes to pressuring the enemy into mistakes, and they are fourth-best at protecting the rock on offense. A ball-hawking performance might be the best way to surprise OKC on Monday night, because the OKC is an NBA-best 16-1 when they commit fewer turnovers than their competition. If the Bucks win the battle of miscues, they have a good shot at keeping things close.

The Sixth Man. James Harden looks like the clear-cut winner of the NBA's Sixth Man Award in 2012. Then again, Mike Dunleavy has had one hell of year for the Bucks. But since it's such a clear decision, I shouldn't even have to tell you which player is which, right?

GP Min USG FG% 3P% FT% eFG% TS% Assist Rate TO Rate Win Shares PER
Player A 45 26.5 18.68 49.2 42.9 81.7 58 61.5 20.41 9.11 5.52 17.31
Player B 55 31.8 21.43 49 38.7 83.6 57.8 65.5 25.55 15.02 7.12 20.84
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