“Our first afternoon game was not a pretty one.”
That is what Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd had to say after the Bucks lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-96 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center Sunday afternoon.
The Bucks got down early by a score of 22-4 that had fans booing their home team midway through the first quarter. Milwaukee shot only 13% on 3 of 23 shooting from the field in the first quarter and were down 32-12 after the first 12 minutes.
It did get better for the Bucks in the third quarter. Milwaukee went on a 24-5 run led by Khris Middleton’s three-point shooting to cut the Thunder deficit to 84-82. However, that is as close as the Bucks would get as the Thunder went on a 16-4 run to start the fourth quarter to diminish any hope of a Milwaukee comeback.
“I thought the character of the guys to keep playing and keep fighting coming out after halftime got us back into the game. That first quarter was unacceptable, but the guys kept playing and we found ourselves in a ballgame,” said Kidd.
Kevin Durant had a game-high 32 points to go along with 12 rebounds and eight assists for the Thunder. Russell Westbrook recorded a triple-double by scoring 15 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Westbrook has recorded the second-most triple-doubles in the NBA season, behind only Draymond Green.
“Fourteen shots, 32 points, that’s what a scorer can do,” Kidd said of Durant. “You look at Westbrook and Durant, I thought they set the tone early with just passing the ball and getting their teammates involved.
“Westbrook doesn’t have to shoot the three to be successful. He puts a lot of pressure on the defense when he gets in the paint.”
Despite the loss, Giannis Antetokounmpo also recorded a triple-double. Antetokounmpo scored 26 points, 12 rebounds and dished out 10 assists. This is Antetokounmpo’s third triple-double in his last eight games. He also matched a career high with four blocks.
“I thought Giannis was great. I think the more you see him at this position, the better he is going to get. Since he’s started this with the triple-doubles, I don’t know how much better he can get. With that, you have to add wins, and understand how to win with a triple-double. He’ll get there,” said Kidd on Antetokounmpo’s success playing point guard.
Durant was also impressed and had good things to say about Antetokounmpo. “Once he starts knocking down that jumper consistently it’s going to be a problem. He’s already a problem now, once he starts knocking that jumper down it’s going to be amazing to watch.”
Antetokounmpo is the first Milwaukee player to have three triple-doubles in the same season since Alvin Robertson in 1990-91.
Jabari Parker also scored 26 points in the loss. It was the first time that both Antetokounmpo and Parker each scored 20+ points in the same game. Parker has scored 20+ points five times since the All-Star break and six times overall this season.
The Bucks will now make a short trip to Chicago to take on the Bulls Monday night before returning to the BMO Harris Bradley Center for two games against Miami Wednesday night, and New Orleans Saturday night.