Oklahoma City Thunder vs Milwaukee Bucks Preview and Predictions -02-28-2020
It’s an interconference tilt on the hardwood between a pair of teams solidly in the playoff picture in Cream City. The Oklahoma City Thunder is on the road as they make the trip to face the Milwaukee Bucks Friday night. Oklahoma City was in action Thursday night at home as they hosted Sacramento in a Western Conference tilt. They earned a 124-122 road victory over Chicago in their last game on Tuesday night. Milwaukee earned a 108-97 road victory over Toronto in their previous contest on Tuesday night. The Thunder owns a 72-70 edge in the all-time regular season series between the teams though Milwaukee scratched out a 121-119 road win in the first meeting this season on November 10, 2019.
Heard about the new XFL – a brand new, more intense, and fan focused football league!
Oklahoma City Thunder Playing Second Game of Back to Back
Oklahoma City was at home in action against Sacramento Thursday night looking to extend their four-game win streak. The Thunder escaped the Bulls with a two-point win though they failed to cover the line as a 7.5-point favorite, snapping a string of three straight covers. Oklahoma City is tied for second in the Northwest Division, four game behind the Nuggets. In the Western Conference playoff picture, the team is fifth, nine games behind the Lakers for the top spot. Oklahoma City is 17-10 on the road this season. In those games, they average 108.4 points per game while allowing 106.8 points a night this season. The Thunder is 5-3 in the second game of a back to back situation with a +4.3 ppg scoring margin in those contests. Oklahoma City is 12-8 against Eastern Conference teams with a +1.2 ppg scoring differential on the year.
The Thunder enters this one 16th in the league in scoring offense as they average 111.2 points per game. Oklahoma City is 22nd in rebounding with 43.2 boards a night while ranking 26th in assists by dishing out 22.1 dimes per game. The Thunder stands 10th in the league in scoring defense by allowing 108.1 points per contest. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is leading Oklahoma City with 19.4 points plus 6.3 rebounds per game on the season. Danilo Gallinari contributes 19.2 points plus 5.6 rebounds per game while Chris Paul chips in 17.5 points plus 6.7 assists a night. The Thunder can look to Steven Adams (11.2 points, 9.5 rebounds) and Dennis Schroder (19.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists) in order to get their offense going. Terrance Ferguson, Mike Muscala, Nerlens Noel, Abdel Nader and Darius Bazley all have to contribute for the Thunder to have success. Oklahoma City is 4th in the league in field goal percentage as they hit 47.4 percent from the floor as a team this season. The Thunder is 26th in threes made per game as they drain 10.5 per contest while ranking 16th by hitting 35.7 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.
Milwaukee Bucks Staying Hot
Milwaukee took down Toronto in a showdown of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference for their 50th win in 58 games as a one-point underdog. The Bucks entered Thursday holding a 16-game lead over the Pacers in the Central Division race. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the team leads by eight games over the Raptors for the top spot. Milwaukee trailed by two after the opening quarter and at the half before outscoring Toronto 34-19 in the third quarter. The Bucks didn’t let the Raptors closer than five the rest of the way en route to their fourth straight win. Milwaukee shot 38.1 percent from the field, including 14 of 42 from three-point range, and held Toronto to 35.1 percent shooting. Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 22 points and eight rebounds in the win.
The Bucks are 1st in the league in scoring offense with 119.8 points per game on the season. Milwaukee is first in rebounding by pulling down 51.8 boards per contest while the team is 7th by dishing out 26.2 assists per game. The Bucks are 8th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 107.6 points per contest this season. Giannis Antetokounmpo leads Milwaukee with 29.7 points, 13.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists per contest this season. Khris Middleton chips in 21.1 points plus 6.3 rebounds a night while Brook Lopez contributes 10.8 points a contest. George Hill (9.6 points) and Eric Bledsoe (15.8 points, 5.5 assists) are solid secondary options. Kyle Korver, Robin Lopez, Wesley Matthews, Ersan Ilyasova and Pat Connaughton are solid pieces in the mix as well. Milwaukee is second in the league in field goal percentage by shooting 48.1 percent as a team this season. The Bucks are fourth in threes per game by draining 13.9 triples per contest and stand 14th in three-point shooting by hitting 36.1 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder are an American professional basketball team based in Oklahoma City. The Thunder compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league’s Western Conference Northwest Division. The team plays its home games at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Thunder’s NBA G League affiliate is the Oklahoma City Blue, which it owns. The Thunder are the only team in the major professional North American sports leagues based in the state of Oklahoma. Oklahoma City previously hosted the New Orleans Hornets (now the Pelicans) for two seasons following devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
The team was originally established as the Seattle SuperSonics, an expansion team that joined the NBA for the 1967–68 season. The SuperSonics moved in 2008 after a settlement was reached between the ownership group led by Clay Bennett and lawmakers in Seattle, Washington following a lawsuit. In Seattle, the SuperSonics qualified for the NBA playoffs 22 times, won their division six times, advanced to three NBA Finals, and won the 1979 NBA Championship. In Oklahoma City, the Thunder qualified for their first playoff berth during the 2009–10 season. They won their first division title as the Thunder in the 2010–11 season and their first Western Conference championship as the Thunder in the 2011–12 season, appearing in the NBA Finals for the fourth time in franchise history and first time since 1996, when the team was based in Seattle.