Offensive Rating: Thunder – 106.4 (17th), Bucks – 102.3 (25th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 104.1 (8th), Bucks – 103.9 (7th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.2 (20th), Bucks – 93.4 (11th)
View from the enemy: Bucksketball
Potential letdown game? Maybe. And if it happens, so be it. But I expect a win. I’m convinced this team is good. It’s still young and nonsense losses are sure to happen, but regardless of that, every game against a sub-.500 squad should be a win. Until of course the Thunder loses three or four of these and I go back to being scared like Indiana Jones in a snake pit before each game.
The Bucks and Thunder are both riding streaks coming into this one, just streaks in the opposite direction. OKC is of course riding a five-game winning run, while Milwaukee has lost four straight. The Bucks haven’t played since Wednesday night so they’ll surely be rested, and the fact they’re basically full strength is big for them too.
Andrew Bogut was missing from the first meeting and that was a big help to the Thunder as OKC outrebounded the Bucks by 12 and dominated the paint. I doubt that will happen again tonight. But in that first matchup, Russell Westbrook got the best of rookie sensation Brandon Jennings, holding Jennings to just 14 points, three assists and three turnovers. That of course will be the biggest head-to-head in this game.
(Deep breath) Luc Richard Mbah a Moute will likely guard Kevin Durant and Mbah a Moute is a decent defender that is strong and likes to play physical. But right now KD is riding as hot as you can and I’m not sure you could stop him from scoring 25 if you tied his feet together and threw a blanket over his head.
Jeff Green should have an advantage over Ersan Ilyasova (though Ilyasova is a quality player) and Thabo should be able to lock on to Michael Redd. A rather large key will be which bench plays the best. Milwaukee has a nice second unit with Luke Ridnour and Hakim Warrick anchoring things. I’ll definitely enjoy watching Serge Ibaka and Warrick lock up. Talk about some length and athleticism.
The Bucks have a lot of trouble putting the ball in the basket, especially if Jennings isn’t scoring. That’s why this game figures to tilt in OKC’s favor, even if Milwaukee is 9-7 at home. Again, I’m beginning to expect wins which is a crazy thing, but I wouldn’t be stunned by the opposite. It’s a long season and you can’t win them all. But right now, it kind of feels like we will. Winning streaks are fun.
Tip at 7:30 CST. Go Streak.