Milwaukee coasted to a 117-106 victory over the Atlanta Hawks this past Sunday while shooting a scorching 50-percent from three-point range. Tonight, the Bucks welcome the Oklahoma City Thunder to Milwaukee as the team looks to turn the Bradley Center into a haunted house for the reigning MVP and his new friends. The Bucks have already reigned supreme over one 2016/17 Western Conference playoff team this season and are primed for another resume building performance.
News broke after Sunday’s victory that sixth man, Greg Monroe, would be missing the next two weeks due to soreness in his left calf. If the previous game was an indication for how the minutes will be divvied up, John Henson figures to be the man called upon to take those minutes. Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to shine coming off his fifth 30+ point performance of the season. Facing off against a trio of All-Stars on national television will be a great litmus test for Giannis and an absolute treat for the viewers at home and in the arena. The trick is whether he can continue shooting a league leading, 77-percent at the rim against a top notch Thunder D.
Player to Watch: Thon Maker
Maker recorded a season high 20 minutes on Sunday due to Monroe’s absence. Sunday’s game was forgettable for Maker, however, and tonight will be another test for him against a physical big man. The Charlotte Hornets’ Dwight Howard had no problem out-muscling Maker and you can believe that Thon is ready to prove his strength training is paying off against Steven Adams. Thon’s spacing ability will continue to open up the lane and draw the Thunder’s only rim protector away from his comfort zone.
The Thunder are riding high as they are coming off a 101-69 undressing of the Chicago Bulls. Before they humiliated the Bulls, the Thunder had a rough flight into Chicago as their plane sustained damage at the nose, most likely caused by a bird. That scare in the sky did not slow them down as their stingy defense allowed only 8(!) points in the second quarter and did not allow the Bulls to score more than 23 points in a single quarter. The Thunder snagged 52 rebounds Saturday night and will try and keep that going against a Buck team that has been out rebound in four of six contests this year.
Player to Watch: Russell Westbrook
How could this section not be about the pettiest man in the NBA and reigning MVP? Westbrook carded his third triple-double of the season on Saturday night and will look to make it two in a row as he sizes up Malcolm Brogdon. It has been only six games, but Westbrook is posting his lowest usage rate (30.3-percent) since he was on his rookie contract. He was the league leader in that category last season and the additions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony have helped decrease the amount of workload Westbrook needs to shoulder.
What Vegas Says
Our friends over at Bovada Sportsbook has the Bucks listed as two-point home underdogs. The over/under is listed at 212 and if I were a betting man, I would throw a couple of bones on the over.