Milwaukee, despite getting trodden upon in the first quarter — the Thunder hit their first eleven shots and took a 30-22 lead — gradually fought their way back, and in the third quarter they took the lead from a disorganized bunch in Thunder blue. With a minute and a half left, it was a 94-94 tie; the Bucks’ John Henson scored an easy layup, the Thunder went nowhere, and with the Bucks seeking to run some clock, Russell Westbrook, who’d missed an incredible number of shots in the second half, came up with a steal. Tony Snell pushed the ball out of bounds, apparently bouncing it off Westbrook, and Westbrook ended up fouling Malcolm Brogdon, who calmly sank two free throws to put it out of reach. Bucks 98, Thunder 94, Milwaukee climbs one game above .500, and Billy Donovan is looking through his notebooks for the one that says “Shot Selection.”
And that, ultimately, was OKC’s undoing. Yeah, Westbrook had 30 points; but he was 9-28, 2-10 from distance. Meanwhile, Giannis Antetokounmpo, a man so fast he can compress his last name to four syllables, was picking up 26 points on 10-19 shooting. And you have to figure that whatever the Bucks did to hold Enes Kanter to two points was pretty remarkable in itself. (Semaj Christon, whose first name runs three syllables, led the Thunder bench with 11.) It’s a darn good thing that Victor Oladipo was back. And you could perhaps forgive all those three-point shots — 27 were attempted, but only nine actually went through — were the Thunder a good three-point team. Twenty-ninth out of 30 is not good.
The road trip continues: Charlotte on Wednesday, Houston on Thursday, back home to play Denver Saturday, then up to Chicago on Monday. It’s not getting any easier, folks.