OKC Thunder fall to the relentless Bucks: 3 takeaways

OKC Thunder's Luguentz Dort #5 dribbles the ball while being guarded by Donte DiVincenzo #0 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder's Luguentz Dort #5 dribbles the ball while being guarded by Donte DiVincenzo #0 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder’s nine-game road win streak ended at the hands of a commanding 47 point win by the Milwaukee Bucks. Here are three takeaways from the match.

It was a rough night for the OKC Thunder and easily the toughest Thunder game to watch this season. This year has seen OKC set records and put up incredible numbers. But this game was different, showing an uncharacteristic performance from the Thunder and just how dominant the Bucks are.

In saying that, we do have to consider the fact that OKC were coming off a back to back after defeating the Sacramento Kings from 19 points down at home. This was shown by Billy Donovan resting every starter except for Luguentz Dort in the fourth quarter.

We also have to acknowledge that it just wasn’t the Thunder’s night and the Bucks showed why they are a championship contending team. They look like it, they play like they are and they seem like a tight-knit group who are unstoppable.

The Thunder did have a chance after trailing by only three points at one stage in the game. They came into it with belief they could win and based on how many victory’s they’ve gotten in the clutch, there was no surprise why.

But a 23-4 run by Milwaukee late in the second quarter and an increase to a 40 point margin just made it an outlandish job to contain.

The Thunder will look at what went wrong but won’t dwell on this and have a three day break, looking forward to a matchup with the Clippers on Tuesday. Here are three takeaways from the game.

Chris Paul is the Chris Pauliest he can be:

Even on the night of a bad loss you still find it hard to fault Chris Paul. As ESPN’s Doris Burke said on the broadcast, Chris Paul is the “Chris Pauliest he can be.”

He led the OKC Thunder with 18 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds and a steal despite missing a whole quarter. You would imagine that Paul wouldn’t have bothered how many points he scored just as long as his side got the win.

But he always stays in the game, leads by example and remains who he is. One of the moments that showed his expertise was in the first few minutes when he came off an Adams screen, shot a pull up jumper and initiated contact – just a smart play.

Or in the third quarter when he got to the three point line, waited for Giannis to pull back and made a contested 3-pointer. He even dared Antetokounmpo to shoot from beyond the ark.

Despite the Thunder loss, CP was still the same playmaker and leader.

Milwaukee Bucks are legit and Giannis is relentless:

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The Bucks dominated on both sides of the floor. They used immense speed, were authoritative in the paint and forced the Thunder to shoot more from the perimeter, as well as making them work for every possession.

OKC’s recent shooting power was interrupted as they shot 36.3 percent from the field compared to the Bucks 50 percent. The Thunder made 17.1 percent of their 3-pointers as the Bucks scored 46.7 percent. This, as well as the 36-66 rebound count in favor of Milwaukee, was unlike the OKC Thunder.

The Greek Freak only played 27 minutes but he put up 24 points and 10 rebounds in the first half. He finished with 32 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists.

And instead of slowing down, the Bucks just kept on fighting. I won’t say it was a wake-up call because the Thunder are still very much a brilliant team. But I will say that this is a massive learning game for them as they prepare to play in the postseason against similar talent and will need to adapt and attack.

Gallinari was missed:

Danilo Gallinari did not play in this game due to ankle soreness. He was therefore replaced by youngster Hamidou Diallo. As expected Diallo displayed some high-flying moments but did experience some foul trouble.

Something that the whole team evidently missed was Gallinari’s scoring. His 19.2 points per game always have a huge impact for the Thunder. He can often shoot the team out of slumps, and his tall presence is helpful on the defensive end.

Without him, OKC had to play small ball in a way, against the towering Bucks. Gallinari is listed as day to day.

Next. Shorthanded and tired OKC Thunder ousted by Bucks – grades. dark

The OKC Thunder go back to sixth seed in the West after the Utah Jazz beat the Wizards, but they’re still well and truly in the hunt for a top 5 playoff spot.