I believe we must start with this:
And any game where Scott Brooks draws a technical has to be weird, right? Now you have to give the Milwaukee Bucks this much: they held the high-powered Thunder to 40 points in the first half. Then again, that’s all they scored. Milwaukee was shooting a blah 37 percent in that half; OKC managed a pitiful 31. The Thunder then ran off a 32-25 third quarter, but the Bucks would not go away, and it took another Serge Ibaka Special to close it out: Ibaka had 20 rebounds, tying his career high, and 15 points. Thunder 92, Bucks 79, and good night, Milwaukee, thanks for playing.
Both sides were a bit depleted. The Bucks were missing Caron Butler, Carlos Delfino and Ersan İlyasova; the Thunder lost Thabo Sefolosha to the dreaded “flu-like symptoms,” and Kendrick Perkins was back. Rookie Andre Robberson drew his first start ever, and while he was in, he did a reasonable job of keeping O. J. Mayo out of the cylinder, though Mayo did knock down five treys (in 11 tries) on his way to a team-high 22 points. (The Thunder managed only five treys in aggregate.) The Bucks collected one more rebound than the Thunder (53-52), with Zaza Pachulia and Ekpe Udoh splitting 24 of them. Second-year man Khris Middleton started in place of Butler, and he did decently enough, with 14 points on probably too many shots.
With Ibaka making all the noise, no one noticed Russell Westbrook calmly — for Westbrook, anyway — dropping in 10 of 20 for a game-high 26 points despite bricking three free throws. Kevin Durant tacked on 24, and Reggie Jackson added 11 to lead the bench, though Nick Collison was the guy with the high plus: +16 for the night.
What makes you feel better after a fairly scary three-game road trip? Why, a six-game homestand, and that’s what’s coming, starting with the Nuggets on Monday night.