clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Milwaukee Bucks vs OKC Thunder: 2010-2011 Game 82 Preview; The Regular Season Closes Tonight

New, comments

Records: The Milwaukee Bucks (34-47) vs. The Oklahoma City Thunder (55-26)

Time: 7:00 PM Central Standard Time

Place: The Power Balance Pavilion, Sacramento, California

TV: FSOKHD, FSN North - Wisconsin

Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1), KHTK 1140 AM

Enemy Blog(s): BrewHoop

Previous Meeting(s): Nov. 20 (Thunder Lead Season Series 1-0)

And so here we are. We have finally made it to the last game of the season, and wouldn't you know it, this game is kind of a big deal. I think that fact in and of itself is remarkable, and bears testimony to what a fabulous season this has been. In a season where we saw a Heat Index, the Celtics trade a cornerstone, and the MVP debate turn into a culture war, it is somewhat surprising that the Thunder find themselves almost exactly where everyone thought they would be. They are better than last year, primed for a title run, and precocious as ever. Of course, the journey is the real story and the Thunder would not be where they are if not for a franchise altering trade, good health, and a favorable schedule down the stretch. The perception went from being a contender to overrated to pretender to suddenly a dangerous contender once more.

One of the big lessons that I think and hope they learned is, when the team cares, they can beat anybody. When they don't care, they can lose to anybody.

With all due respect to the Bucks, tonight is probably one of the teams in the latter category. Even so, here's your warning bell - they beat the Raptors twice. Yeah...THOSE Raptors.

I think that the best thing the Thunder have going for them tonight is that the #3 seed is still in play and that Dallas is playing concurrently so OKC won't likely know until the end whether or not the Bucks game is in vain. If Dallas loses and the Thunder win, they get the #3 seed. Ergo, if they don't know if Dallas has won, they should treat it as if Dallas were going to lose, and that seed is OKC's to gain. Sometimes that's all it takes.

Keys for tonight:

  • As we saw in the last game against the Kings and countless others, the Thunder get themselves in trouble with lesser teams when OKC tries to get too 'cute' and throw knockout punches in the 1st quarter. I've been watching the NBA for a long time, and I know I've seen teams win games with amazing first halves, but I've never seen a team win a game simply from a great 1st quarter. Save the flair for later in the game; in the beginning, just get the rebounds and finish the fast breaks. There is little worse than watching a team waste a 3 on 1 fast break.
  • The Thunder were without Kevin Durant and Jeff Green in the first match-up and the Thunder struggled to get offense. They won't have the same struggle this time out, but Durant still needs to make a concerted effort to continue his forays to the rim.
  • The Bucks do well in the fast break. The Thunder need to make sure they don't give up extra possessions and allow the Bucks to get into the open court. The easiest way to do that is rebound well and not turn the ball over. In the last game, Durant and Russell westbrook combined for 12 turnovers. They need to pay a little more attention to that detail.
  • The Thunder have not played great or even good defense in the last two games. It would behoove them to reach for that 24 points per quarter or less threshold. If OKC can do that, I don't think the Bucks can compete over four quarters.
Prediction: Thunder 110, Bucks 95