|2012-2013 NBA Season|
The Milwaukee Bucks (35-36)
|March 30th, 2013|
|Bank of Montreal Harris Bank Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin|
|7:00 PM CDT|
|Fox Sports Network Oklahoma, Fox Sports Network Wisconsin|
|WWLS the Sports Animal (98.1), Newsradio 1620 WTMJ|
|Enemy Blogs: Brew Hoop, Bucksketball|
|Previous Meetings: None.|
|Injury Report: A Clean Bill of Health|
|Russell Westbrook||PG||Brandon Jennings|
|Thabo Sefolosha||SG||Monta Ellis|
|Kevin Durant||SF||Marquis Daniels|
|Serge Ibaka||PF||Ersan Ilyasova|
|Kendrick Perkins||C||Larry Sanders|
For as long as I've known them, the Milwaukee Bucks have been the very definition of mediocrity. No one really seems to despise them or love them, they simply exist to fill the standings. Obviously, my bias is helped by the fact that I'm 22 and the Bucks are in the Eastern Conference, but my reasoning doesn't stop there. With the Bucks being mediocre and playing really mediocre ball, it stands to chance that the Thunder could actually win a game on the road, despite it being the second game in as many nights.
The Bucks are basically the definition of a volume shooting team. They love to run a fast pace, but whether they actually score a lot varies from night to night. But these aren't the Golden State Warriors, despite Monta Ellis' inclusion on the roster. The Bucks do a surprisingly good job controlling the ball despite their pace, and their hustle is good enough to net them a solid amount of rebounds. Their achilles heel is usually their inability to shoot a good percentage and get to the line.
During the last meeting of these two teams, which was last year, the Thunder were able to keep the Bucks in check offensively and dominate the boards. But, last year the Thunder's bench was looking a lot stronger than it is right now. In last night's game vs. the Timberwolves, the bench shot a combined 7-25 from the floor and failed in critical stretches. Moreover, the main team's offense suffered from turnover problems, running lazy and predicatable plays that the T-Wolves took full advantage of.
The Bucks certainly have the quickness to give OKC problems, especially considering how well J.J. Barea consistently does against the club. But Ellis and Jennings generally perform about on par with their averages against the Thunder. OKC's real concern is the offense of Kevin Durant. Durant has had poor shooting performances against the Bucks both last season and two seasons ago, getting hassled by Ersan Ilyasova. If he can't produce and the Thunder's bench continues to sputter, this could very easily be a loss.
Both teams have incentive to win, with the Bucks hoping to avoid a first round matchup with the Heat and the Thunder still hoping to nab the one seed in the Western Conference. But with only 8 games left, both teams' fates are basically out of their hands.
Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder 105, Milwaukee Bucks 101.
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