The Bucks surprised the Thunder in the first quarter. Oklahoma City wasn’t able to create any decent offense and the defense has been a mess. This has in part to do with the absence of Paul George, and in part with Donovan’s decision to start Alex Abrines as Geroge’s replacement. The Thunder found themselves down 20 points after the first twelve minutes, but they didn’t give up. Possession after possession, the Oklahoma City bounced back, and cut the Bucks’ lead to three points with 10 seconds remaining in regulation time. Bledsoe missed two free throws, and after a Thunder’s time-out, Russell Westbrook did what he does best: clutch three-pointer to tie the game with a bit more of four seconds left.
Unfortunately this time the teams didn’t go to overtime. Another incredible bad decision by the officials cost Oklahoma City the game. Antetokounmpo received the ball inside the three points line, he attacked Josh Huestis, step out of bound, and then dunked for the win. Due to the replay review rules, the referees weren’t able to rewatch the play, and even though Giannis clearly stepped on the line, there was nothing to do.
We could talk about a lot of things that Oklahoma City didn’t do well during the course of the game, but at the end of the day, they made a huge come back against a very good team. All of it was wiped away by a huge officials’ mistake. It’s crazy that a play like that one isn’t reviewable just because there was no call on the floor. The NBA not only have to address this type of issue (imagine this happen in the NBA finals) but also these officials. How is it possible they missed something so obvious?
Josh Huestis should have started in place of Paul George. He was the perfect option. He can defend, he has length, he can attack the basket, shoot, and his confidence is high at the moment. However, for some reasons, Donovan started Abrines, and that was a huge mistake. Huestis finished with only 5 points and 1 block, but he was a plus/minus +21.
Russell Westbrook did everything in his power to bring the Thunder back in the game. He kept on attacking the Bucks, no one was able to slow him down, and he even tied the game with one of his “crazy” shots with a few seconds left on the clock. His final stat line: 40 points (47.1 FG%), 14 rebounds, 9 assists, 1 steal, and 5 turnovers.
The bench was solid last night. They gave the Thunder a spark in the second quarter, they outscored the Bucks’ bench 32-13 and shot 13-21 from the floor. This is definitely encouraging moving forward.
Oklahoma City seems to have lost Abrines. He is having a really bad stretch (actually since the season started), and I think Donovan didn’t do Abrines a favor by starting him last night. He has been very slow on defense and he is not active enough on offense. Surely the team should look more to set him free on offense, but his confidence is at a maximum low.
- FG% 45.8, 3P% 28.0, FT% 60.0, ASSISTS 16, REBOUNDS 45, STEALS 5, TURNOVERS 13
- FG% 47.1, 3P% 31.0, FT% 47.1, ASSISTS 26, REBOUNDS 43, STEALS 9, TURNOVERS 9
The Thunder will play again at home, on Sunday night against the Dallas Mavericks, tip off 6 p.m CT