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Rapid Recap: Bucks 112, Thunder 118

Milwaukee fights back but can’t quite overcome the Thunder’s defensive mastery

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not often you see a team that’s able to make the Milwaukee Bucks athletes look slow, but that’s what the Oklahoma City Thunder’s squad of rangy defenders did in a 118-112 win. Oklahoma City sputtered out of the gates, but started take control of the first as the Milwaukee Bucks kept up almost solely due to Brook Lopez stroking 4/4 from deep. They trailed 31-25 heading into the second. The next period held little more optimism for Milwaukee, who continued to look several steps slow as the Thunder’s athleticism flashed on both ends of the court. By halftime, the Bucks were down 56-42, with Giannis Antetokounmpo at only three points. The Bucks fell behind even further in the third, but answered with an 18-3 run to get it within 89-79 by the fourth. Milwaukee got it within five down the stretch, but Paul George cruelly ripped Milwaukee’s spine out with some goosebumps-inducing triples.

Giannis had one of his most difficult days of the year from the floor, going just 8-22, including seven shots blocked by the opposition. He fought through it in the second half to continue pummeling the paint, but his 27 points, 18 rebounds and four assists just wasn’t enough to pull Milwaukee to a victory.

Khris Middleton’s night was buoyed by two fine shooting stretches to start the game and in the third quarter, but Paul George made life a chore from him tonight to finish with 22 respectable points. Brook Lopez started the game splashing four threes, but beyond a few paint finishes was mostly absent offensively for the remainder, ending at 19 points. Eric Bledsoe did fine defensively, but had just 11 points on 5-14 shooting and turned it over four times. Brogdon added 18, but the bench was a no-show beyond Tony Snell (8 points).

Paul George was a bad, bad man today on both ends of the court, but his 3-point swagger was on full display with 36 points and 13 boards. He hit a cold-blooded triple at the end to ice this one. Russell Westbrook’s shot looked horrendous (5-20), but he still managed a triple-double at 13 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. Terrance Ferguson, who averages just six points per game, contributed 15 for them.

Stat that Stood Out

Oklahoma City has eclipsed 50% shooting from deep twice already this season, although one of those came on just a 9-17 shooting night. Tonight, they combined volume (32 attempts) and accuracy (16 makes) for 50% shooting, their third best performance of the year in that regard. Tip your cap to not just Paul George, but iffier shooters like Dennis Schroder and Terrance Ferguson who went 5-9 combined.