The Milwaukee Bucks close out their road trip in Oklahoma City, hoping to make up for back-to-back losses to the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz. They’ll try to head home with some momentum by beating a far friskier than envisioned Thunder squad.
Where We’re At
The Milwaukee Bucks narrowly fell 124-125 against the Phoenix Suns, with a Giannis Antetokounmpo jumper narrowly missing. They followed that up with a 129-115 loss against the Utah Jazz, who have now won 19 straight against Milwaukee in Salt Lake City. It wasn’t nearly the same script as last time, with Utah making only 13 threes but winning the paint battle and holding a 10-point advantage at the free throw line. Giannis was quiet in the first half, but enforced his will in the second to get to 29 points. He’ll look to keep that energy going against a Thunder team that’s starting Al Horford at center.
The Thunder came into this season with a bevy of draft picks, seemingly bereft of much top-tier talent and every intention of tanking to the bottom. Instead, they’re 10-15 and just a few games back of finding themselves in the thick of a play-in tournament. They are currently 14th in the West, but there’s a whole mess of teams around them. They’re coming off three close but no cigar games, taking the Los Angeles Lakers to overtime two games in a row, and then losing to Denver by just two. They haven’t even had stud PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for the last two contests either.
The Thunder will be without former Buck George Hill, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Trevor Ariza and Theo Maledon for this one. The Bucks are just missing Jrue Holiday.
Player to Watch
Al Horford has had his share of battles inside with Giannis over the years, and the tide has turned in Antetokounmpo’s favor considerably in the latter stages of Horford’s career. He’s averaging a modest 14 points, seven boards and just over three assists for the Thunder. I’m curious to see how much he’ll get the chance to guard Giannis versus OKC trying one of their smaller defenders against The Greek Freak. Lu Dort has that sort of “Marcus Smart” body type where he’s built like a truck and may offer Giannis some issues. Still, Giannis has owned Horford lately and will likely take advantage of that matchup should it ever present itself. Brook will have to try and keep Horford from too much damage behind the arc, where he’s shooting 40% this season.
Game 27: Against the Thunder, the Bucks will...
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