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Game Thread: Thunder/Bucks

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vs.

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22-57 (7-31 road) 32-47 (20-19 home)
April 11, 2009 - 7:30 PM CT
Bradley Center
Radio: 1250 WSSP TV: FS Wisconsin

Probable starters:

Russell Westbrook
PG Ramon Sessions
Kyle Weaver
SG Charlie Bell
Kevin Durant
SF Richard Jefferson
Jeff Green
PF Charlie Villanueva
Nenad Krstic
C Dan Gadzuric
102.8 (30th)
Off (23rd) 106.5
109.5 (20th)
Def (15th) 108.1
93.5 (8th)
Pace (11th) 92.5
28.7 (4th)
OReb (8th) 27.9
73.7 (14th) DReb (11th) 74.2

08/09 Series:

Oct 29: Bucks 98,@Thunder 87

Michael Redd, Richard Jefferson, and Charlie Villanueva netted 20 points each, just the type of balanced effort that can drive the Bucks to success this season. The Bucks have enough legitimate offensive firepower to make this work at least semi-regularly. They also received help from a bench that doesn't figure to pile up points. Charlie Bell, Tyronn Lue, and Dan Gadzuric hit a combined 8-11 from the field for 20 more points.

Injuries

Thunder: Nick Collison (hip) and Thabo Sefalosha (finger) are day-to-day.

Bucks: Michael Redd (torn ACL and MCL) and Andrew Bogut (stress fracture in lower back) are out. Francisco Elson (strained right hip flexor) is questionable.

Three Points

  • Thunder roll. Sure, it's been a long first season in Oklahoma for the one-time Sonics, but don't feel too bad for them. The Thunder sold out their eighth in a row last night, finishing their home schedule with an 84-81 win over the Bobs to snap their four-game losing streak. More importantly, Thunder fans have seen the continued development of Kevin Durant (25.6 ppg), a fine rookie season from all-action point guard Russell Westbrook, and a much better second year from their other '07 lottery pick, Jeff Green (16.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg, .446/.393/.785). And with the fourth-worst record in the league they still have a realistic shot at Oklahoma's finest, Blake Griffin.

    Things to watch for tonight: the Bucks should have their hands full on the glass, as the Thunder are the fourth-best offensive rebounding team in the league. However, Nick Collison could be out again with a hip injury, though Nenad Krstic has averaged 18/7 in his past two contests. Janesville native Kyle Weaver could also get his first career start in place of Thabo Sefalosha at shooting guard.
    Last hurrah? Charlie Villanueva and Ramon Sessions have been two peas in a pod this year for the Bucks. Good friends off the court, they carried the Bucks in February and March and their impending free agency has been a major topic of discussion for months. But their fortunes have diverged notably over the past month, adding fuel to the fire that only Sessions is likely to return next season. Sessions has averaged 15.0 ppg, 11.3 apg, and 5.0 rpg on 52% shooting in April, while Villanueva's March shooting slump (16.8 ppg on .412/.255/.818 shooting) has only worsened in four April games (13.3 ppg on .410/.211/.500 shooting). And as if that wasn't enough, now some guy is suing CV for a purported night club fight.
    Tipping point. Making the BC a tough place to play was a theme of the preseason, and for a while things were going OK. Then again, that's pretty much been the theme of the season, hasn't it? Though they've bested the low standard they set last season at the BC (19-22), a five-game home losing streak leaves the Bucks just a game over .500 with two to play.

    For the most part these final three games will have little impact aside from determining the number of ping-pong balls the Bucks have in the lottery, but I'm hoping we can at least see some signs of life. Can Joe Alexander finish a disappointing rookie season on a positive note? Can Villanueva regain some of the confidence he had in January and February? Will Jefferson keep up his recent hot streak (25.0 ppg on .490/.481/.878)?

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