The Oklahoma City Thunder attempt to stretch their season-best winning streak to seven games when they host the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday. The Thunder opened a four-game homestand with impressive victories over Houston and Toronto to improve to a stellar 14-4 at home.
Oklahoma City was a porous 8-12 when November ended as the trio of point guard Russell Westbrook and forwards Paul George and Carmelo Anthony had trouble meshing. That no longer is an issue with the Thunder sitting at 12-3 this month and now owning the fifth-best record in the Western Conference. Milwaukee was sliding in the wrong direction with five defeats in seven games before recovering from a 20-point deficit to produce a solid 102-96 victory over Minnesota on Thursday. The Bucks outscored the Timberwolves 27-12 during the fourth quarter in a resounding finish.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee), FSN Oklahoma
ABOUT THE BUCKS (18-15): Milwaukee was getting jeered loudly by the home fans, and even coach Jason Kidd wasn’t feeling so good before the team reversed course and posted its largest comeback victory of the season. “Sometimes you feel you’re on the brink of being embarrassed,” Kidd told reporters. “So you tend to turn it up. The guys stayed together. The best part of the night was, they kept talking to each other.” Small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo contributed 22 points and 10 rebounds, giving him 20 or more points in each off his last 23 appearances, while guard Eric Bledsoe scored 26 for his fourth 20-point effort in five games.
ABOUT THE THUNDER (20-15): Oklahoma City’s “Big Three” combined for 81 points in the 124-107 victory over Toronto - the largest total of their 35 games together. George made seven 3-pointers while scoring 33 points, Westbrook contributed 30 and 13 assists and Anthony scored 18 as he continues to accept his role as the team’s third scoring option. “The pieces to the puzzle is coming together. Everybody is doing their job. Everybody is playing their part,” Anthony told reporters. “Now it’s just a mindset of just going out there, winning, playing basketball, not worrying about anything else, focusing on doing your job and helping others and trying to win the game.”
1. The Thunder have won five of the last six meetings, including a 110-91 victory in Milwaukee on Oct. 31.
2. Oklahoma City C Steven Adams scored 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting against Toronto and has reached double digits in 12 of his last 13 games.
3. Milwaukee PF/C John Henson was 7-of-7 shooting against Minnesota and is 26-for-36 over his last five contests.
PREDICTION: Thunder 115, Bucks 98