The Milwaukee Bucks had their modest 6-game winning streak snapped with a 118-112 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Sunday night. The Bucks found themselves trailing by double-digits for the majority of the game, but they did impressively claw their way back into the game with a furious rally late in the fourth quarter. Even with how poorly the Bucks played on both ends of the floor, they still gave themselves a shot at stealing a victory on the road. Here are three observations from Sunday’s loss to the Thunder.
OKC made Giannis Antetokounmpo work for EVERYTHING.
The Thunder did a terrific job at denying Giannis clean looks at the rim like he usually gets. He looked puzzled in the first half and only scored 3 points. It took a while for him to find a rhythm, but he still managed to drop with 27 points, 18 rebounds, and 4 assists but made only 8-of-22 shots. If there was one bright spot from this loss was the fact that the Greek Freak made 3-of-5 three-point attempts. It’s not often that he shoots better from three than he does from the field, but it was just that kind of game for him. He was NOT the best player on the floor last night. When was the last time that happened?
MONSTER TRIPLE FROM GIANNIS (OF COURSE) pic.twitter.com/LY1Ogt03Ce— FOX Sports Wisconsin (@fswisconsin) January 28, 2019
Milwaukee’s bench unit stunk up the joint
The Bucks got only 15 points from their reserves, which simply won’t cut it. The Bucks have a plethora of versatile guys to come off the bench, but the lack of consistency the last few games is certainly something to monitor as the year goes on. Sterling Brown has been solid off the bench for them, but is still growing and hasn’t shown much consistency (yet). D.J. Wilson has come back down to earth just a bit the last few games. The last time he scored a point? January 19th against the Magic in Orlando. That’s now three straight scoreless games for Wilson. Ersan Ilyasova hasn’t scored in three games either. Luckily, the Bucks have yet to be snakebitten by this. The sky is not falling, but it would be nice to get just a bit more production from the bench mob especially with a road-heavy schedule on tap.
Paul George is an MVP candidate.
And he showed us why last night. He was unstoppable from the opening tip whether it was slicing his way to this basket or pulling up well behind the three-point line and hitting nothing but nylon. He poured in 36 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals in 38 minutes. PG also shot a robust 12-of-21 overall and 8-of-12 from deep. George was hitting absolutely everything he was throwing at the basket, even if there was a hand all in his face. Not much you can do about that. He was also wreaking havoc defensively, and put together a tremendous all-around performance versus the Bucks. He was the best player on the floor yesterday and it wasn’t even close. He’s now averaging 27 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2.3 seals per contest. Paul George is one of the most versatile players in the NBA.
- Khris Middleton scored an efficient 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting while also contributing 4 rebounds and 6 assists. He also connected on 3-of-7 threes and finished a team-best plus-8. He continues to be rock solid for the Bucks.
- Eric Bledsoe had his hands full dealing with Russell Westbrook defensively, and I think that took a bit out of him. Bledsoe scored 11 points but needed 14 shots (wah, wah). He also had a few UGLY turnovers against OKC...this was probably his toughest matchup of the season thus far. He’ll be better next time out.
- WET LIKE I’M BROOK. Splash Mountain was hitting threes early and often en route to 19 points while also blocking two shots. It looks like he’s shooting the ball in slow motion, but wow is he a deadeye from deep.
- How about Malcolm Brogdon? Despite scoring 18 points with 6 rebounds and 4 assists, he did have an injury scare late in the game but he was able to shake it off. His status will be something worth monitoring for the Bucks next game on Tuesday.
- The Thunder made 16-of-32 three-pointers :/