Sunday afternoon presents a solid opportunity for the Thunder to try and shake off its two-game losing streak as OKC’s favorite team takes on the Bucks in Milwaukee at 2:30 p.m. Here are a few things to know about the matchup:
Thunder looking for sweep
Back on December 29, the Thunder was able to take down the Bucks 131-123 behind a 39-point fourth quarter and 53 combined points from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Not only were the Thunder superstars doing their thing, but it was Cameron Payne—in his second game as the backup point guard—who was vital in pulling out the victory for OKC.
The rookie finished with 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting and was praised by his teammates post-game for the breakout effort in the win.
This is the last chance the Bucks have to knock off the Thunder this season, and they’re more than capable of taking down a contender. Let’s not forget, the first team to take down the infamous Warriors this season was Milwaukee, so despite their less than stellar 26-36 record, the Bucks tend to show up when the level of competition is raised.
Bounce back game for Westbrook
Russell Westbrook’s not only one of the best point guards in the league, but he’s also one of the best overall players in the NBA. Therefore, Thursday’s poor performance from Westbrook against the Warriors came as a surprise to most people who watch the point guard dazzle night in and night out.
Westbrook totaled 22 points and seven assists, but you could tell early on he wasn’t his normal efficient self. He shot 8-for-24 from the field while only hitting one of his eight three-point attempts.
Sunday’s matchup with Milwaukee is the perfect setting for a Westbrook bounce-back game, so don’t be surprised to see the point guard unleash his basketball rage on the entire city of Milwaukee.
Bucks have plenty of playmakers
This season hasn’t gone as planned for Milwaukee, but despite their unexpected woes, the Bucks have plenty of capable playmakers throughout their roster.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has taken over point guard duties for the Bucks as of late, and is averaging 8.5 assists in the last six games while also recording three triple-doubles in that span. Antetokounmpo can also get the job done on the defensive end due to his ridiculously long wing span and natural athleticism.
Khris Middleton can also put the ball in the basket, and torched the Thunder for 36 points when the two teams met back in December. Middleton averages 18.5 points per game and has been the Bucks’ most consistent player throughout the year.
Despite his recent move to the bench, Greg Monroe is a force in the post for Milwaukee and shoots 52.7 percent from the field while grabbing 9.4 rebounds per game. Monroe was a big free-agent signing for the Bucks but hasn’t really put the team over the hump like many assumed he would. That being said, OKC will need to sure up its post defense if they don’t want Monroe to dominate on the block.