Oklahoma City Thunder

OKC Thunder | Game #26 Preview: Bucks

Zachary Low

zacharylow88

Tip-Off: 7 PM CT

Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

Television: Fox Sports Oklahoma

Radio: WWLS 98.1FM OKC The Sports Animal

Twitter: Follow @ZacharyLowNBA for live-tweets and discussion during the game

At this point, it’s almost like it doesn’t matter who the Oklahoma City Thunder plays because they stick to a pretty consistent script:

  • 1st Quarter: Start with a lot of energy and build a nice lead.
  • 2nd Quarter: Energy continues with the second unit followed by a slight letup right before halftime to keep the game within a reasonable distance.
  • 3rd Quarter: The lead continues until a few minutes before the end of the period, where the opposing team cuts into the deficit.
  • 4th Quarter: The game comes down to the wire, where the Thunder just barely gives up yet another chance at a win.

Despite it being a very similar version of the same story, it’s hard not to watch and enjoy it as it unfolds. So on Friday night, as OKC built a 20-point first-half lead against the Denver Nuggets, I couldn’t help but think it wasn’t over.

Sure enough, the Nuggets managed to pull back within reach by the end of the third quarter, and as they took their first lead of the game with just a little over a minute to play, Denver was able to pull out the win, thus handing the Thunder their third loss in 5 days.

Tonight, the Thunder is finally back at Chesapeake Energy Arena for a short 2-game homestand as they host the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks are second in the Eastern Conference, and they have lost their last 2 in a row. Milwaukee has lost 2 consecutive games just three times this season, and they haven’t lost a third in a row, which makes this one perhaps all the more difficult for OKC.

The Thunder continues to deal with injury, and the Bucks are relatively healthy comparatively speaking, so this isn’t going to be an easy one. Milwaukee is a double-digit favorite, and rightly so. I anticipate this is more likely to be a blowout than a nail-biter.

Projected Starters

Thunder

  • PG: Hamidou Diallo
  • SG: Luguentz Dort
  • SF: Kenrich Williams
  • PF: Darius Bazley
  • C: Al Horford

Bucks

  • PG: Bryn Forbes
  • SG: Donte DiVincenzo
  • SF: Khris Middleton
  • PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • C: Brook Lopez

Injuries

Thunder

  • Trevor Ariza is OUT (not with team).
  • Moses Brown is OUT (G League; two-way).
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is OUT (left knee sprain).
  • Josh Hall is OUT (G League; two-way).
  • George Hill is OUT (right thumb surgery).
  • Ty Jerome is OUT (G League; on assignment).
  • Theo Maledon is OUT (health and safety protocols).
  • Aleksej Pokusevski is OUT (G League; on assignment).

Bucks

  • Mamadi Diakite is OUT (G League; two-way).
  • Jrue Holiday is OUT (health and safety protocols).
  • Sam Merrill is OUT (G League; on assignment).
  • Jordan Nwora is OUT (sprained left ankle).

Head-to-Head

  • Since arriving in Oklahoma City in 2008, the Thunder is 13-10 against the Bucks in the regular season (6-5 at home, 7-5 on the road).
  • In 12 seasons, the Thunder has won the season series with the Bucks 4 times, lost it twice, and tied it 6 times.
  • The Thunder lost the season series 0-2 last year (0-1 at home, 0-1 on the road).

Game Notes

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