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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Preview: Green and Growing

Milwaukee tries to keep the winning ways going

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NBA: Preseason-Oklahoma City Thunder at Milwaukee Bucks Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off a victory at home, the MIlwaukee Bucks can continue their winning ways during a Friday night matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder. After a scuffling 1-4 start at Fiserv Forum to start the year, Bud’s team has a chance to rack up a few wins with subpar competition coming up on the docket.

Where We’re At

Giannis Antetokounmpo asserted his dominance up and down the court against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, pouring in 47 points in absurdly efficient fashion.

Part of that rarified air was due to nailing three of his four triples — something that’s come and gone this season — but the more important element of last night’s game was how aggressive he was getting to the basket. With fewer hordes of defenders flying his way, he got to the rim whenever he wanted and finished with power. Part of that stemmed from some solid pick-and-roll chemistry with Khris Middleton too — who dropped 16 points and six assists in 30 minutes of action during his return from COVID-19. Jrue Holiday continues to struggle shooting across the board, but Bobby Portis (17) and Pat Connaughton (16) gave some scoring punch to back up Milwaukee’s superstar.

On the other side of the ledger, you have to hand it to OKC, every year they’re projected to lose the most games in the league, and already they’re performing better than I would’ve bet. Granted, their most recent dub was against one of their primary opponents for most losses, the Houston Rockets, but Luguentz Dort and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander have proven enough to help carry their young roster to a 6-8 record. That’s been largely on the back of their defense, which is ranked 13th in the league. Their offense, well, that’s in the cellar, 29th overall, not a surprise given the youth and inexperience.

Also, as someone who recently became a father for the first time, kudos to OKC coach Mark Daigneault for staying home on this road trip. I feel like I don’t see that too often, or it’s flying away for just one game, but I’m glad he’s taking the time to ensure he’s around whenever that magical moment happens.

On the injury front, Milwaukee is still missing Brook and Donte. OKC has a full crew, outside of Theo Maledon who is spending time in the G League.

Player to Watch

I haven’t seen all that much of OKC this year...okay, basically none...but I am kinda interested to see what Josh Giddey is all about. It seems like the returns have been fairly positive thus far, and as a Dune fan, I’ll watch a Timothee Chalamet lookalike. The few times I’ve caught him, it has been crazy to watch him slick his hair back every time down the court. That’s dedication! He’s averaging nine points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game, albeit his 42.1% effective field goal percentage is where he clearly has room to improve. Either way, I want to check out how the Aussie rookie looks.


Poll

Game 16: Against Oklahoma City, the Bucks will...

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    Win big (by 10 or more points)
    (105 votes)
  • 21%
    Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (31 votes)
  • 1%
    Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (2 votes)
  • 2%
    Lose big (by 10 or more points)
    (3 votes)
141 votes total Vote Now

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