Thunder vs Bucks: Post game report

Thunder vs Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks had no real trouble beating the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night, beating them 130-110. Don’t fear Thunder fans, there were some positives vs the Bucks as well! We’ll break them down here — along with the not so positive. 

Luguentz Dort is the best shooter in NBA history

Ok, I’m kidding obviously. Dort had a great showing offensively tonight much like he did against the Rockets during Game 7 in 2020. Dort started the game going 4/4 from three, and finished 4-6 from three with 19 points on a total 7-11 from the field. Luguentz has vastly improved offensively since entering the NBA, and he still has more untapped potential — which to the rest of the NBA should be as terrifying as being chased by Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees, Chucky, and Leatherface all at the same time. 

Josh Giddey all around game

If you asked me what I expected a Josh Giddey statline to look like, I would say something close to what Giddey put up tonight. Josh struggled a little from the field going 3-9, but he did finish with nine points, six rebounds, and six assists. I definitely expect the rookie to get a triple double this season if he can stay healthy. 

Scary Pokusevski

We knew when the Thunder drafted Poku that development would take time. His performance on Sunday night has to give the fans and Oklahoma City front office cause for concern, however. Pokusevski posted two points on 1-6 from the field, and looked completely lost at times. This is not the time to give up on young Poku though, as he is still just that, very young. But this was in way a positive performance. 

Defense

We knew coming into the season the Thunder would struggle on defense at times. Milwaukee showed everyone just how bad it could possibly be / get. The Bucks went an astounding 54% from the field, and 54% from three. That is just brutal. Milwaukee scored 50 of their 130 points in the paint highlighting just how desperate the Thunder are for post length. Hopefully getting Derrick Favors back soon will remedy that if even little.

In closing

The Oklahoma City Thunder are what we thought they were. A young team that would struggle mightily on the defensive end but has potential to be very fun to watch on the offensive end (even though the final numbers say otherwise). The Thunder need to put this loss vs the Bucks behind them as they host the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night at 8 pm EST. A game I assume will be available to watch on the Thunder website.

Thunder vs Bucks: Preseason Preview

thunder vs bucks

The Oklahoma City Thunder will be back in action this coming Sunday as they travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for an intriguing matchup vs the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. 

The Thunder most likely will not have to play against the majority of the starting lineup that won the NBA Championship last year as the Bucks are choosing to be precautious with Giannis Antetokoumpo , Khris Middleton, Bobby Portis, Jrue Holiday, and Rodney Hood. Here are my projected starters for each respective team, and a preview of what to expect from Thunder vs Bucks. 

Bucks

Point guard- George Hill

Shooting guard- Grayson Allen 

Small forward- Jordan Nwora 

Power forward- Thanasis Antetokoumpo

Center- Brook Lopez

Thunder

Point guard- Shai Gilgeous Alexander

Shooting guard- Josh Giddey 

Small forward- Luguentz Dort

Power forward- Darius Bazley 

Center- Isaiah Roby

In their last game against the Hornets the Thunder had a difficult time scoring the ball, going 38% from the field, and 31% from three. I don’t believe they are that bad of an offensive team, so I do look for a bounce back game here. On the flip side, the Hornets went 49% from the field and 27% from three. Oklahoma City did a good job it seems on defending the perimeter, but struggled guarding in all other situations. As predicted, the Thunder were putrid in the paint on defense, giving up 62 of Charlotte’s 113 points in the paint. That will most likely carry over and be a huge storyline throughout  the season. 

And in their last game against the Memphis Grizzlies the Bucks struggled on the offensive end without their veteran leaders, going 41% from the field and 28% from three. This game on Sunday does have the potential to get ugly offensively. Oklahoma City would probably prefer for it to. On defense, Milwaukee gave up 46% from the field, and 31% from three to the Grizzlies.

As mentioned earlier, this has the potential to be an ugly game that could go down to the final buzzer. I do expect the Bucks to exploit the Thunder’s weakness in the paint, and I predict Milwaukee pulls off the win.

Oklahoma City Thunder 88 | Milwaukee Bucks 104

Milwaukee Bucks: Why Next Season They’ll Be Playing With House Money

Photo: Paul Sancya/Associated Press

On July 20th, 2021, the Milwaukee Bucks, led by NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, delivered a championship to Milwaukee. It was the Bucks first NBA championship since 1971, with Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leading the way. But despite now being on top of the NBA mountain, Milwaukee isn’t the favorite to repeat as champions next season. Due to the crazy offseason, the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers are getting the attention. But, it’s not a bad thing for the Bucks. In fact, they should be embracing it, which in the process, will be playing with house money. Here’s three reasons why.

First Reason: Pressure Is Now Off Of The Milwaukee Bucks Big Three

For the past three seasons, the Bucks had intense pressure on them to deliver in the postseason. And they delivered big time by reaching the NBA mountain after a 50 year wait. The pressure is off of Milwaukee next season, especially when it comes to their big three.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Some championship teams ascend the NBA mountain, they lose their edge. But they’re in a spot in which that edge won’t leave them. A big reason why they won’t have to worry about it is because Antetokounmpo will be able to play with more freedom than ever.

He culminated Milwaukee’s championship season with 50 points in game six, and dominated the Phoenix Suns on both ends of the floor. The performance itself for the Greek Freak was years of hard work that he put in. It also opened eyes and the argument for who the best player in the NBA is too. Antetokounmpo is definitely in that conversation, despite him saying that’s not what matters to him.

His free throw was something so many picked at, and they had valid points. But Antetokounmpo silenced those critics by shooting a scorching 17-19 from the free throw line (89.4%) in game six. The way he played on basketball’s biggest stage will take the pressure off of him knowing he’s capable of performances like that more often than not.

Khris Middleton

There’s been quite a few fans, media etc who have always viewed Khris Middleton as just another player. But like Antetokounmpo, Middleton also quieted the noise. He delivered late in games, proving he definitely earned the five-year, $177 million contract extension the Bucks gave him in 2019.

Middleton, like Antetokounmpo, will also have the weight off of his shoulders. He’ll simply be able to play his game without critics saying what he can’t do. The freedom to be himself on the floor is something Middleton will love when the 2021-22 NBA season begins. The Bucks organization doesn’t feel the pressure when it comes to him because they know if Antetokounmpo isn’t himself, or has an off game, Middleton is more than capable of closing games late. And that is why everyone involved will he able to breathe easier next season.

Jrue Holiday

Antetokounmpo and Middleton garner quite a bit of attention, but Jrue Holiday shouldn’t be ignored. When the Bucks acquired him from the New Orleans Pelicans last offseason, it elevated their franchise. Holiday proved to be that missing piece the Bucks needed to have in their core group. But when the trade was completed, he had pressure on him to prove to everyone that he was worth it.

They gave up three future first round picks, and two additional draft pick swaps to the Pelicans, along with Eric Bledsoe and Sam Merrill. Quite a few thought the Bucks gave up a lot for a player who isn’t a superstar, but for this team, Holiday didn’t have to be. He proved that he was very much worth it, as he had the epic steal of Devin Booker in game 5 in Phoenix, which led to his alley oop pass to Antetokounmpo.

His defense, along with timely buckets, are what the Bucks needed from him, and he delivered. The deal in getting Holiday definitely played a role in Milwaukee keeping Antetokounmpo for the foreseeable future as well. And the pressure will be off of him to prove he can deliver and help the Bucks, which is a good thing.

Second Reason: Expectations For The Milwaukee Bucks Aren’t As High

This reason somewhat was stated, but the expectations for the Bucks aren’t as high due to the pressure the Nets and Lakers have on them. But that’s not a bad thing for Milwaukee. The Bucks have a championship after a 50 year wait, and if they were to make back to back Finals appearances, or win back to back titles, that’s an added bonus for them.

Some are wondering why that’s the case. It’s because historically in the NBA, small market teams aren’t able to have consistent success (outside of the San Antonio Spurs), while the big market teams trend upward. So the expectations for the Bucks won’t be as high due to some relying on “history” of small market teams repeating aren’t high. But if the Bucks were to repeat and outlast both the Nets and Lakers, that would truly exceed expectations in Milwaukee.

Third And Final Reason: The Milwaukee Bucks Love The Underdog Role

The final reason why the Bucks are playing with house money is they love being the underdog role. They were underdogs in their title run against the Nets and Suns and thrived in it. They’ll likely be underdogs again this year, with Brooklyn and the Lakers at full strength. That’s a blessing in disguise for Milwaukee, as Antetokounmpo, Middleton, Holiday, and their roster have been doubted before by so many.

They’re also low ego guys who are about team success, which helps them thrive in the underdog role. The fans at Fiserv Forum and at the Deer District embrace it as well. It’s no accident why the crowd was defeaning there and gave teams a hard time. The Nets, including the postseason, went 0-5 there. So in ways, the Bucks should thank the super heavyweights in the big markets. The summer developments have given them plenty of motivation, as they look to repeat as NBA champions next season.