The Oklahoma City Thunder were supposed to be just a little road bump for the Milwaukee Bucks on a chilly Friday night at Fiserv Forum.
After all, the Bucks are the defending champions with a two-time MVP looking to add another trophy to his collection this season and the Thunder are a rebuilding squad looking to add another top 5 draft pick to their roster this season.
And from the jump, it appeared the Bucks were going to prove their championship mettle and the Thunder were going to prove their tanking chops. Giannis and Co jumped out to a 13-0 lead before OKC saw the ball go through their own basket. At one point in the 3rd quarter, the Bucks’ lead swelled to 20 points. But if you’ve watched this Thunder team this year, you know that’s when OKC had ‘em right where they wanted them.
Just as they have all season long, the Thunder clawed and scratched their way back from a huge deficit. By the time 4th quarter crunch time rolled around, it was a 2 point ball game.
“We’re a young team, we have a lot of flaws, but the thing I love about us and I think people will grow to love about us: we have no quit in us,” Thunder backup shooting guard Ty Jerome said in his postgame media call.
Ultimately, the Thunder came up just short in a 96-89 loss on a night where Shai Gilgeous-Alexander struggled to score. The Thunder’s best player and leading scorer ended up with 17 points on an uncharacteristic 5-20 shooting, including 2-12 from 3. Lu Dort had his streak of five straight 20+ point games broken, scoring 10 points to go along with his typically stout defense.
Rookie Josh Giddey was OKC’s best player on the night. The 19 year old Aussie scored 14 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out 4 assists. Mike Muscala was a super sub once again, putting up 14 points and 9 rebounds in only 20 minutes.
OKC fell to 6-9 on the season but once again proved that a team expected to be possibly the worst in the league this season can stand toe to toe with any team on any given night. Even the NBA champs.