A five-game homestand at the BMO Harris Bradley Center comes to an end Sunday afternoon as the Milwaukee Bucks host the Oklahoma City Thunder, with Jason Kidd's club needing a win to end the stand above .500. However, unlike the previous four matchups, the Bucks face a high-powered offensive juggernaut in the Thunder who are led by stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Behind Khris Middleton's hot shooting night and Giannis Antetokounmpo's near triple-double, the Bucks beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-101 on Friday. The Bucks led by as many as 27 points before Minnesota's bench clawed away to trim the lead down. In one of the more confusing events of the season, Timberwolves interim coach Sam Mitchell elected to not play any of his young core players (Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Ricky Rubio) in the fourth quarter and continued to roll with his subs. The outcome of the game could've been much different if he decided to.
The Bucks hit a season-high 14 triples against Minnesota, with a career-high eight of them coming from Middleton (8-for-9 shooting from downtown). Middleton finished with 32 points and his eight threes were two shy of Ray Allen's single-game Bucks record. This was the first time a Bucks player hit eight threes in a game since Carlos Delfino did so on March 18, 2011.
Antetokounmpo finished with 27 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds. He would've gotten rebound No. 10 at the end of regulation if it weren't for a late swipe from his mortal enemy Shabazz Muhammad.
Injury report: Michael Carter-Williams is listed as out for Sunday's game with patellar tendinitis and a sore left hip.
Regardless of the Thunder's 42-20 record, their 2-6 struggles since the All-Star break have Durant, Westbrook and company searching for answers with the playoffs looming. Oklahoma City is looking to avoid a third straight loss on the road after brutal defeats vs. Western Conference rivals Los Angeles (Clippers, of course) and Golden State.
On Thursday in Oakland, the Thunder were unable to get revenge for Stephen Curry's buzzer-beating magic five days earlier in OKC. Durant lead Oklahoma City with 32 points on 64 percent shooting, but Westbrook went just 8-for-24 from the field and an abysmal 1-for-8 from deep. Serge Ibaka added 20, while starters Andre Roberson and Steven Adams only added seven points combined, plus the Thunder bench only scored 25 and failed to help OKC keep a nine-point third quarter advantage. The reigning MVP Curry lit the Thunder up for 33 points, which included 11 in the fourth and a pair of late triples.
In Los Angeles, the Thunder squandered a 22-point lead to the Clippers and fell 103-98. After trailing by 16 with 7:30 left, the Clippers ended the game on a 26-5 run while the Thunder only connected on one field-goal during that stretch. Chris Paul had 21 points and 13 assists and DeAndre Jordan had 20 points and 18 rebounds. It was the largest comeback victory of the season for the Clippers.
Oklahoma City has beaten the Bucks six straight times when Durant has played, though they did beat the Thunder last year in Milwaukee while both Durant and Westbrook were out.
|2015/16 NBA Season|
|March 6, 2016|
|BMO Harris Bradley Center | Milwaukee|
|FS Wisconsin | 620 WTMJ|
|O.J. Mayo||PG||Russell Westbrook|
|Khris Middleton||SG||Andre Roberson|
|Giannis Antetokounmpo||SF||Kevin Durant|
|Jabari Parker||PF||Serge Ibaka|
|Miles Plumlee||C||Steven Adams|
|2015/16 Advanced Stats|
|94.4 (22nd)||Pace||96.7 (9th)|
|104.3 (22nd)||ORtg||112.8 (2nd)|
|108.4 (23rd)||DRtg||105.9 (15th)|