The Oklahoma City Thunder are on a three-game losing streak which hands them the second-worst record in the Western Conference. The Thunder will once again be without their star point guard, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who is sidelined with a knee sprain. Mark Daigneault has remained consistent about this just being a precautionary measure. Theo Maledon remains in the Health and Safety Protocols and will be out tonight against the Bucks. Of course, George Hill, who is still nursing a thumb injury after having surgery, remains sidelined.
The Bucks will be without Jrue Holiday who is sidelined due to the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols. He is the only player missed for Milwaukee aside from their G-League assignments. The Bucks come into the game 16-10, on a two-game losing streak, and 6-4 in their last ten games. This will be the Thunder’s first home game in a week’s time, but at home, OKC has only won three games.
The road does not get much easier from here, after this date with the Bucks on the heels of a pair of games against the Lakers and one against the Nuggets, OKC will take on a pair of playoff hopefuls in Portland and Memphis before taking on the Bucks again on Friday.
In this game, the Thunder would love to see Darius Bazley get more active offensively. The second-year forward is only averaging 11 points and 7 rebounds with an assist on bad shooting splits (.38/.28/.75). Bazley has had opportunities, especially these last couple of weeks with SGA bouncing in and out of the lineup, to take on a bigger role offensively.
I still think that Darius Bazley can be an impact player on the offensive end, with his skilled playmaking and a much better shooting stroke than he has shown thus far, we have just had to wait for the 20-year-old to break out. Since the start of February, Bazley is averaging 13 points and almost 9 rebounds, but an even worse shooting splits (.35/.26/.78).
One thing that has zapped Bazley’s offensive ability, which he showed flashes of in the NBA Bubble, has been the defensive assignments he earns. Having to defend Jimmy Butler, Zion, Julius Randle, and the like has been tough on Bazley. It will be interesting to see if he is tasked with the Giannis Assignment tonight.
Al Horford has been sensational in his last 8 games, and Kenrich Williams has turned into a fan favorite for his effort and hustle along with key rebounds and his flashes of scoring.
The Thunder are 11.5 point underdogs tonight, I will take the Bucks to cover that spread despite the recent trends with OKC. Giannis and company are just bound to have one of “those games” where they blow out an opponent from start-to-finish. For Locked on Thunder listeners, the Moneyball pick is Al Horford leading the team in 3-pointers made.