Game in Review: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – March 6

Mar 6, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) looks for a shot against Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker (12) in the first quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 6, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) looks for a shot against Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker (12) in the first quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

As the star-studded Oklahoma City Thunder rolled into the Bradley Center, it was time for triple-double duels and the Milwaukee Bucks to fantasize about the future.

Starting Lineups – Milwaukee Bucks: O.J. Mayo, Khris MiddletonGiannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari ParkerMiles Plumlee

Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook, Andre Roberson, Kevin Durant, Serge IbakaSteven Adams

With Giannis Antetokounmpo looking like a nightly triple-double threat of late, it felt like there was no time better than the present for the Milwaukee Bucks to welcome the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Bradley Center.

The Greek Freak’s size and athleticism has often seen him compared to Kevin Durant in best case scenario projections, yet with the frequent do-it-all threat that Russell Westbrook the near league leader (behind Draymond Green) in triple-doubles brings to OKC, it’s hard to pigeon hole Antetokounmpo in the mold of just one of the Thunder’s star duo.

With the outstanding play of Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker over the past month, the Thunder are what many optimistic Bucks fans would like to see their team grow into over the coming years.

Sunday wasn’t about getting reads on Milwaukee’s future though, this was about seeing how the young Bucks match up to the challenge that Oklahoma City present in the here and now.

More from Bucks News

With a rare 2.30 pm start in the Bradley Center, there always a chance that the two teams could come out cold. Oklahoma City didn’t necessarily have that problem, but the Bucks started so slow that one can only guess that Jason Kidd told them about the hare and the tortoise as pre-game motivation.

Andre Roberson opened the scoring with a wide open corner triple for OKC, in a play indicative of how the Thunder would come out of the starting blocks. Oklahoma City shared the scoring load in the early running with Roberson, Adams and Ibaka heavily involved in their team’s early buckets.

Parker’s luck has turned dramatically with his recent play for Milwaukee, and as a more confident player it simply seems to become a lot easier to catch some breaks. The prime example of that was Milwaukee’s sole bucket prior to the game’s first timeout.

With Parker on the run in transition he fumbled a pass that likely would have been a certain turnover only a few weeks ago, yet somehow Jabari maintained control on this occasion to finish with a slam.

There weren’t a whole lot of positives for the Bucks in the first with the jump shot not falling, but Giannis also popped up with a timely reminder of how tough he is to stop now. In transition, Antetokounmpo virtually glided through a slew of OKC orange jerseys, only to cap the move off with a silky Euro Step and poster finish over Serge Ibaka.

Free throws were important to prevent the Bucks from total embarrassment early on, but a 20 point deficit was not the way Milwaukee would have hoped to start proceedings in this one.

The second quarter was always going to be about steadying a ship that was readily leaking points in the first, and with the help of Jerryd Bayless the Bucks at least started to see the ball go through the basket.

A quick flurry from Bayless saw him make a couple of field goals and six freebies from the stripe to bring his total to 11 points before the half. The Thunder’s bench driven by a big performance from Enes Kanter was certainly not rolling over though, and it would take the Bucks starters to return for the team’s confidence to really rise.

Giannis and Jabari gave the fans in the building something to shout about with a sky high alley-oop.

The defensive effort began to surge too, as highlighted by a ferocious rejection from Plumlee on Durant as the first half began to wind down.

That energy would roll over into the second half when we saw Giannis join in the block party, energizing his play across the court.

With the Greek Freak really seizing control in terms of playmaking, suddenly everything began to look easier for Milwaukee.

Having started 2-10 from the field thanks to a lot of jump shots falling short, Khris Middleton finally found some rhythm late in the third to help fuel a Bucks run. Giannis was still doing this sort of thing too:

Milwaukee finished the third period on a 21-5 run to cut the deficit to five points overall, giving themselves plenty of cause for optimism entering the final 12 minutes.

Both teams started the fourth trading buckets, but as the quarter progressed the offense dried up for the Bucks in the most costly way imaginable. Milwaukee missed 12 straight field goals in the middle of the final period allowing the Thunder, who have a habit of stuttering late in games, to at least get comfortable.

With credit to the young Bucks who have played with a much improved attitude of late, they would continue to press and fight to the end.

Jabari and Giannis both exceeded the 20 point mark, the first time in which that has happened in their young playing careers together. To top that off, as Westbrook unsurprisingly grabbed a triple-double for OKC, Antetekounmpo followed him up with his own on the other end.

Giannis had 26 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to record his third triple-double in the space of two weeks. Fun times are not just on the horizon for Giannis and the Bucks, in many ways they’re here already.

Milwaukee fell to the Thunder with an ultimately spirited performance.

89. Final. 101. 149. 95

The Bucks will look to continue to fight and impress, and hopefully we’ll get plenty more excitement from Giannis and Jabari as they face off with the Bulls in Chicago on Monday night.