Oklahoma City Thunder lose first road game of 2017

Jan 2, 2017; Milwaukee, WI, USA;  Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker (12) drives for the basket around Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jerami Grant (9) during the fourth quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Milwaukee won 98-94.  Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 2, 2017; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker (12) drives for the basket around Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jerami Grant (9) during the fourth quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Milwaukee won 98-94. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder let one slip away as they started off 2017 and their tough January schedule with a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on the road.

Solid First Half

The first half of this game belonged to the Thunder; especially the first quarter. OKC as a team didn’t miss a shot until there was 3:10 left in the opening frame.

After that 3:10 mark however, they only made one more field goal the rest of the quarter. That can be chalked up to bad bench play or bad rotations by Billy Donovan. For an extended stretch to end the first quarter, the Thunder were on the court without both Victor Oladipo and Russell Westbrook as they saw their early lead become less impressive.

For a while before Oladipo went down, Donovan staggered Westbrook’s and Oladipo’s minutes so that the team wasn’t on the court without a perimeter scorer. It’s evident that Donovan’s trust in the bench unit is at an all time high, but they did not produce at all tonight. The bench ended with a +/- of -41, there worst outing in quite some time. That’s pretty bad. Actually that’s terrible.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo had his way all game

Milwaukee patiently chipped away at OKC’s lead behind the marvelous all-around play of their star, Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Thunder had no answer for him as they trotted out a plethora of defenders attempting to find a fix. Andre Roberson, Oladipo, and Jerami Grant could not find an advantage against him and he made them pay for it. So much that the “Greek Freak” finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

Jan 2, 2017; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) looks to shoot during the first quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

With the bad bench play, this game turned into a three man show for OKC. At the beginning it seemed like that was enough to earn the first win of the new year.  Steven Adams had a great first half with 16 points, but he tailed off as the game progressed and finished with only 20 points and eight rebounds. Oladipo finished with 18 points and Westbrook finished with 30 points and six assists.

Bad Russ

My new year resolution was for Russell Westbrook to cut down on all of his three-pointers as he is shooting more than he ever has this far into the season. This game showed that his shot selection still leaves A LOT to be desired. Westbrook went 2-10 from three-point range tonight, which is something that should never happen. Maybe he will learn his team won’t win with that production. Or maybe he wont. Either way Russ is gonna Russ I guess; tonight we saw the bad part of that saying.

The Thunder will look to redeem themselves in the second game of their three game road trip when they take on the Hornets in Charlotte on Wednesday, January 4th.

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