Giannis Antetokounmpo went baseline and stepped out of bounds and threw down a two-hand dunk. However, the step out was never called by lead official Derrick Stafford. The dunk counted and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s six-game winning streak is over as the Bucks win 97-95.
The Thunder fall to 20-16 on the season and split the season series with Milwaukee.
An old fashion Russell Westbrook three with 4.6 seconds left put the Thunder equal with the Milwaukee Bucks for the first time all game long. However, Antetokounmpo’s dunk gave them the slight advantage that should’ve never happened.
“Obviously, he stepped out of bounds,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said. “Everybody knows that. I did not get a chance to personally see the replay. I was trying to ask for a review.”
Officials said since there was no call, there was no ability to review the play. Had the officials said Antetokounmpo stepped out, only then could they review the play.
When asked, Stafford said this to the pool reporter:
“In any reviewable matter, there has to be a whistle called on the floor. There was no whistle blown for the play, so we couldn’t review it.”
Westbrook once again kept his answer curt when asked if Antetokounmpo stepped out.
“I couldn’t see that,” Westbrook said. “You’ve seen it. So it’s over now. It don’t matter.”
If you’re just talking quarters alone, the first quarter was a dark green blur of Antetokounmpo passing and Khris Middleton shooting. The Bucks nailed four threes in the opening quarter. Milwaukee led by as many as 22 in the quarter.
It came to a point where Thunder head coach Billy Donovan subbed out all starters and put the reserves in. That’s when the lead finally started disappearing.
Patrick Patterson hit a three. Raymond Felton fould a lay up and the lead was under 20 with 7:45 left in the second quarter.
Westbrook re-entered the game and Oklahoma City made a run, a 9-0 run before Milwaukee found their way back into the scoring column. With barely brinking, the Thunder were within 45-34 with 5:20 remaining in the half.
The Thunder trailed 58-44 at half.
A Steven Adams dunk off a Westbrook pick-n-roll cut the Milwaukee deficit to single digits with 9:20 left in the quarter. Oklahoma City opened the quarter on a 9-3 burst.
A Josh Huetsis three-pointer cut the Milwaukee lead to 65-62 with 4:34 left in the third. After that, Milwaukee would turn it up a notch. The Bucks would go on big 18-7 run, pushing the lead out to double digits once again.
Westbrook checked back in and immediately starting cooking. The Thunder on the back of the MVP rolled back to an 85-79 deficit on a 10-2 run with 5:02 remaining in regulation.
Russell Westbrook finished with 40 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists. It’s the fifth time in the last seven games in which Westbrook scored at least 30 points.
Oklahoma City fought back and had multiple times to tie the game. Raymond Felton missed 2-of-3 free throw. Westbrook bricked two straight. Steven Adams finally made one but the second one was ruled no good off a lane violation. five points in the matter of a minute gone.
A lot could be said about this game. A lot of inconsistent officiating. However, missing nine free throws, allowing 19 points off turnovers and shooting only 45 percent will do you in.
The Thunder host the Dallas Mavericks on New Year’s Eve to end 2017. Game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. tip-off on Sunday night. We’ll have Brady Trantham and Co. in arena for all your game day coverage.
Keys to the Game
Win the first half: F
Oklahoma City fell behind 33-11 in the first quarter and you knew it was going to be an uphill climb all game long. Oklahoma City did an okay job fighting back and made it a single digit game in the second quarter. Milwaukee won the half 58-44 though.
Defend the three: C
If this grade was separated by both halves, it would be an F and an A+. Milwaukee was on fire in the first half going 7-of-17. Oklahoma City held the Bucks to only 2-of-12 in the second half from deep. It was a little too late for that when all was said and done.
Make your free throws: F
All Oklahoma City had to do was make some free throws. You’re NBA players. You should be able to do this. By this point, the pressure has to be mounting on all of their misses. Oklahoma City shot a very pedestrian 12-of-21 from the line.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!