Even without its top seven players, Oklahoma City put up quite a fight against Milwaukee Wednesday night, but finally fell to the Bucks, 95-89.
Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha started the game for OKC, but just played seven minutes each, leaving with 4:42 remaining in the first quarter after scoring a combined 20 points.
John Henson had a game-high 28 points for the Bucks, a career-high. He also grabbed 16 rebounds to help the Bucks control both the offensive and defensive glass.
Reggie Jackson led the Thunder with 23 points. Perry Jones had 14 points and Jeremy Lamb had 13 points.
The loss gave Oklahoma City a final record of 60-22, its best record in the Oklahoma City era. With Utah losing at Memphis Wednesday night, the Thunder will face either the Rockets or the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs, beginning on Sunday.
With three of its normal starters, Oklahoma City raced out to a 22-10 lead a little over halfway through the first quarter. The Thunder had its way inside in the first quarter, throwing down five dunks, including a nice left-handed jam from the right-handed Jackson.
The rest of the first half played out in a similar manner, with Oklahoma City unable to stretch the lead to more than 11 or 12 points, but Milwaukee unable to cut very far into the lead. The Thunder went to the locker room with a 51-45 lead.
Oklahoma City used an 8-3 run over a two-minute stretch in the third quarter to take a 63-52 lead with 6:09 remaining in the period. Milwaukee then mounted a charge to get back in the game. Led by Henson's nine points, Milwaukee went on a 16-5 run to tie the score at 68 with 32.2 seconds remaining in the period.
In the fourth, the Bucks continued to pull away, as shots simply wouldn't fall for the Thunder. A Jones jumper was the only field goal the Thunder made during the first 6:23 of the quarter. Meanwhile, the Bucks continued their run to go up 86-74. The drought was something the Thunder were unable to overcome.