The struggling Milwaukee Bucks will come up against the OKC Thunder for the final time in the 2020-21 season on Friday. The Thunder picked up a surprise win in the last meeting between these two sides despite missing key players.
Fixture: OKC Thunder vs Milwaukee Bucks | NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Friday, February 19th, 8 PM ET (Saturday, 6:30 AM IST)
Venue: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
OKC Thunder Preview
OKC Thunder lost their 17th game of the season in their latest matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies but still had plenty of positives to count. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander looked good after missing four straight games due to injury. Darius Bazley showed his aggressive side and managed 18 points on efficient shooting. Finally, they also increased their chances of getting a higher draft pick by dropping another game.
OKC Thunder haven't won too often this season but they've given the best sides a tough time. They almost completed a 24-point comeback against Portland and their last win came against the Milwaukee Bucks only. The future is bright for this rebuilding team and head coach Mark Daigneault must be lauded for the developmental work that his staff has done so far.
Key Player - Luguentz Dort
Luguentz Dort is already an elite defender but has shown some scoring potential as well. Averaging 12.5 points per game, Dort has hit a rough patch offensively after shooting in the upper 40s from downtown at the start of the season. But he'll have several open looks against a Milwaukee Bucks side that likes to employ the drop coverage and could be OKC Thunder's X-factor if he manages to get going.
OKC Thunder Predicted Lineup
G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G Theo Maledon, F Luguentz Dort, F Darius Bazley, C Al Horford
Milwaukee Bucks Preview
Despite losing five straight games, the Milwaukee Bucks have still held on to the third seed in the Eastern Conference. Their defense has crumbled in the absence of Jrue Holiday and teams are just reverting to the outside shot whenever Giannis Antetokounmpo and co. pack the paint. Luckily, scoring hasn't taken too much of a hit with the Bucks owning the second-best offensive rating in the league right now.
The Milwaukee Bucks' lack of two-way players outside of their preferred starting lineup is finally starting to catch up. The best examples are offseason acquisitions Bryn Forbes and Bobby Portis who've combined for over 20 points per game and both shoot the ball above 40% from downtown. But neither player can protect the basket consistently.
Key Player - Giannis Antetokounmpo
Despite averaging monstrous numbers, Giannis Antetokounmpo hasn't affected winning as much as he would've liked to. He hasn't been up to his usual standards in the clutch this time, especially from the charity stripe, but here's an opportunity to rectify that. Giannis had a triple-double the last time Milwaukee Bucks faced OKC Thunder. That performance and the desperation to end Milwaukee's slump will give him the needed boost to come up big again.
Milwaukee Bucks Predicted Lineup
G Bryn Forbes, G Donte DiVincenzo, F Khris Middleton, F Giannis Antetokounmpo, C Brook Lopez
Thunder vs Bucks Match Prediction
The Milwaukee Bucks faced OKC Thunder just a few days ago and would be aware of the mistakes they made in that tie. They have a superior roster in every sense compared to the rebuilding Thunder. Mark Daigneault's men will play with high energy all game but Giannis and co. are the favorites to win this one.
Where to watch Thunder vs Bucks?
Local coverage of the game will be available on FOX Sports Oklahoma and FOX Sports Wisconsin. You can also live stream the same via the NBA League Pass.