While the Milwaukee Bucks dressed as pretenders, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s costume appeared to look as a team that found some really impressive things out as the Thunder thumped the Milwaukee Bucks 110-91 on Halloween night.
Oklahoma City improves to 4-3 on the season and now have won five of the last six again Milwaukee.
While everyone was focused on Giannis Antetokounmpo and his monstrous start to the season, the Thunder jumped out by double digits in the first quarter, never looking back. It started with the defense of Andre Roberson. The defensive specialist out of Colorado locked down one of the MVP candidates this season. Antetokounmpo finished with 28 points but had four turnovers and was negative-11 while on the court.
Roberson fought off airball chants, nailing back-to-back free throws and then rattled in a contested three-pointer. Roberson finished with nine points and was plus-4 on the court. Oklahoma City really saw the money Roberson earned tonight.
“I don’t really pay attention to all the noise. Besides that dude that was heckling me all game,” said Roberson, who blew a kiss in the fan’s direction during the game. “It’s all part of the game.”
Oklahoma City saw their lead balloon to 28 before Antetokounmpo finally checked out. The damage had been done and the Bucks stood no chance by the Thunder’s defensive pressure. The Thunder held the Bucks to 42 percent shooting from the field and only 30 percent from deep. They also forced 14 turnovers.
The Thunder led 60-42 at the half.
“It’s the people that we have on the floor,” Adams noted. “It puts the defense in really tough bind. It’s either they’re giving up a three, closing out to a really good player or giving up a dunk.”
The closest Milwaukee would get within the second second half was only 17 in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter. Oklahoma City played fourth quarters and the Bucks stood no opportunity of a real comeback.
Westbrook missed his triple-double by a single assist. While the stats said he had nine, there is a questionable play at 5:15 left in the first quarter. It will be reviewed by the NBA.
Westbrook finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in only 26 minutes. Westbrook checked out less than three minutes left in the third and did not return.
“He [Westbrook] really set the stage right away from the beginning of the game. He just was dominant and imposing,” Donovan said. “He got a lot of hockey assists where he passed the ball and it led to something else. The competitive spirit and presence was there and it was really helpful for us, especially playing on the road.”
Oklahoma City used a 16-0 run in the first quarter to really put this game out of reach for good. The run was capped off 20-7 overall. The Thunder led by as many as 20 in the first half.
“We did a good job there. We were fortunate a little bit in the first half,” Donovan said. “They had some relatively decent looks that didn’t go down. Sometimes that happens. Our effort to get out there and contest shots was a good thing.”
Oklahoma City now takes a couple of days off before hosting the scorching Boston Celtics on Friday night. Boston (5-2) has won five straight heading into Tuesday night. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. on Friday night at the Peake.
Keys to the Game
Defend the mid-range: A
The Bucks were 8-of-22 from from the 8-16 foot range. Oklahoma City did a good job of forcing contested, mid-ranger jumpers. This is what you want out of this defense. They were on point and there really was nothing Milwaukee could do about it.
Fast Breaks: F
While Milwaukee didn’t do much, the Thunder were held to only three fast break points, their lowest point out put of the year. This game could have been a lot worse if the Thunder hit some of their transition shots. Oklahoma City surprisingly can be better.
Get to the foul line: C
Only 22 attempts for the Thunder. Slowly but surely they’re figuring out what it takes to get to the free throw line. Paul George had zero attempts and that was weird. Westbrook was 2-of-3, which is a bit of an improvement. Still need to see a 30-32 free throw attempt night.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!