Thunder On A Hot Streak As Bucks Come To Town
By Randy Renner
The Thunder are finally starting to play like, well the Thunder.
They've won four of their last five and their offensive numbers, some of the worst in the NBA just a couple of weeks ago have been much better lately.
Oklahoma City has averaged 101.0 points and shot 46.0 percent from the field its last five games after previously ranking last in the league with 89.6 points per game in addition to shooting 41.6 percent during a 3-12 start.
Point guard Russell Westbrook has averaged 25.5 points, 7.3 assists and 7.3 rebounds since returning from a fractured right hand while Kevin Durant is averaging 21.7 points after being out with a fractured right foot.
The duo combined for 50 points in Sunday's 96-94 win at Detroit, and Serge Ibaka had 13 points with 13 rebounds as the Thunder outrebounded the Pistons 50-39.
The Thunder, who averaged an NBA-best plus-3.8 rebounding margin in 2013-14, have posted a plus-6.5 margin over their last six games. They previously averaged a minus-0.6 margin on the season.
Oklahoma City held Detroit to 39 second-half points and has outscored its last three opponents by an average of 6.7 points in the second half while holding them to 39.5 percent shooting.
So it's all getting better for the Thunder. As for tonight's opponent? Well the Bucks all of a sudden have hit the skids.
They were one of the league's better defensive teams during their 10-7 start, limiting opponents to 97.2 points per game and 43.9 percent field-goal shooting. They've since dropped four of five while giving up 109.0 points per game on 50.5 percent shooting.
Milwaukee lost 125-102 at Dallas on Sunday, letting the Mavericks shoot 58.3 percent (49 for 84) - the highest percentage allowed by the Bucks since they let San Antonio shoot 60.0 percent in a 106-103 win on January 10, 2012.
So tonight would appear to be another opportunity for the Thunder to pick up some ground on the Western Conference.
OKC goes into the game tonight in 12th place in the West, four games behind Phoenix for the 8th playoff spot.
Tipoff is 7:10 tonight at Chesapeake Energy Arena.