The Oklahoma City Thunder will get to face the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks on Friday at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Oklahoma furiously broke out of a two-game skid by registering their biggest victory margin against the Houston Rockets. They will need to play so much better against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks to get the W.
OKC beat the NBA’s worst team behind the 34 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists from Lu Dort. The Oklahoma City Thunder’s young core also pinched in significant contributions. Rookie Josh Giddey had a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s near triple-double performance controlled the game for the Thunder.
Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks clamped down on defense to hold off the Los Angeles Lakers, who were without LeBron James. Antetokounmpo led the Bucks’ charge with 47 points, which is his best scoring output since he dropped 50 in last season’s NBA Finals.
The win over the Lakers marks only the third time this season that the trio of Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday have played together. The Milwaukee Bucks are unbeaten in all three games they have shared the court. With a healthier Bucks playing on their home court, it’ll be tough for the Oklahoma City Thunder to win if they don’t play their best form.
Fixture: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Milwaukee Bucks | 2021-22 NBA season
Date & Time: Friday, November 19th; 8:00 PM ET (Saturday, November 20th; 6:30 AM IST)
Venue: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
Oklahoma City Thunder Preview
After a horrendous 1-6 start to the season, the youthful Oklahoma City Thunder have turned things around decently. They are 5-2 in their last seven games, including a four-win streak. Their once non-existent offense has moved to somewhere around the 25th in the league.
While the offense is still very much a work in progress, the defense has made some huge strides. From last in the league in the first seven games, it has jumped to 9th in the last seven contests. Aleksej Pokusevski, Josh Giddey and Darius Bazley are all underrated defenders who have made their under-the-radar resurgence possible.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is starting to catch the eye of the NBA with his unorthodox movements and unflinching confidence. Rookie Josh Giddey has elevated the Oklahoma City Thunder’s ceiling and floor with his uncommon reading of the game and passing.
Key Player - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's numbers do not jump out of the statistical records. His scoring average is down from 23.7 PPG last campaign to 21.1 PPG this season. He adds 5.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game. The figures may not look much, but they are valued by a team that many consider incapable of winning more than ten games this season.
More importantly, he has emerged as the unquestioned leader of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The rest of the roster knows that the 23-year old is willing to carry the burden of being the franchise player of this team. They are starting to believe in him, which is why they have made surprising improvements when they were counted out by many.
Oklahoma City Thunder Predicted Lineup
G - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander | G - Josh Giddey | F - Lu Dort | F - Darius Bazley | C - Jeremiah Robinson-Earl
Milwaukee Bucks Preview
The Milwaukee Bucks’ Big Three of Antetokounmpo, Middleton and Holiday were staples in last season’s championship quest. Due to injuries, the trio have so far been limited to three games this season. Even with Middleton now back in the lineup, the Bucks still look far from the team that dominated the NBA last campaign.
Jrue Holiday, who has played the last few games, is clearly still trying to get his legs under him. Middleton looked gassed in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers. It was only the Greek Freak who looked like his normal self.
The Milwaukee Bucks struggled against the Los Angeles Lakers without LeBron James. If there is hope for the Oklahoma City Thunder to pull an upset, Friday’s game could be their best chance.
Key Player - Giannis Antetokounmpo
The last game's performance against Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers was a reminder of what Giannis Antetokounmpo is capable of. He stuffed the sheet with 47 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and a block. The Greek Freak was also crucial in holding off Davis, who has been spectacular this season.
No one was counting out the Milwaukee Bucks despite their poor start to the season because of the two-time MVP. The Greek superstar kept the team's head above water until the cavalry started coming back. Once the rest of the roster catches up to his mid-season form, the Bucks will return to their dominating form.
Milwaukee Bucks Predicted Lineup
G - Jrue Holiday | G - Grayson Allen | F - Khris Middleton | F - Giannis Antetokounmpo | C - Brook Lopez
Thunder vs Bucks Match Prediction
The Milwaukee Bucks’ record at Fiserv Forum is poor. They only just snapped a four-game home-losing streak against the Los Angeles Lakers. However, the Oklahoma City Thunder are also just 2-4 outside of the Paycom Center.
OKC will be facing a team that is starting to regain their confidence and rhythm on their home floor. They are poised to go on a winning run with their Big Three back in harness. The Oklahoma City Thunder also don’t have an answer to the Greek Freak, particularly if he goes berserk the way he did against the Lakers.
The Milwaukee Bucks should improve their home record against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Where to watch the Thunder vs Bucks game
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Bally Sports Wisconsin and Bally Sports Oklahoma will cover the game live locally. The matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Milwaukee Bucks will also be available via live stream through the NBA League Pass.