Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#537 Oklahoma City Thunder 229 vs.
#538 Milwaukee Bucks -12
Friday, February 28, 2020 at 8:05pm EST
BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee
Written by Chris Kubala

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It’s an interconference tilt on the hardwood between a pair of teams solidly in the playoff picture in Cream City. The Oklahoma City Thunder is on the road as they make the trip to face the Milwaukee Bucks Friday night. Oklahoma City was in action Thursday night at home as they hosted Sacramento in a Western Conference tilt. They earned a 124-122 road victory over Chicago in their last game on Tuesday night. Milwaukee earned a 108-97 road victory over Toronto in their previous contest on Tuesday night. The Thunder owns a 72-70 edge in the all-time regular season series between the teams though Milwaukee scratched out a 121-119 road win in the first meeting this season on November 10, 2019.

Oklahoma City Thunder Playing Second Game of Back to Back

Oklahoma City was at home in action against Sacramento Thursday night looking to extend their four-game win streak. The Thunder escaped the Bulls with a two-point win though they failed to cover the line as a 7.5-point favorite, snapping a string of three straight covers. Oklahoma City is tied for second in the Northwest Division, four game behind the Nuggets. In the Western Conference playoff picture, the team is fifth, nine games behind the Lakers for the top spot. Oklahoma City is 17-10 on the road this season. In those games, they average 108.4 points per game while allowing 106.8 points a night this season. The Thunder is 5-3 in the second game of a back to back situation with a +4.3 ppg scoring margin in those contests. Oklahoma City is 12-8 against Eastern Conference teams with a +1.2 ppg scoring differential on the year.

The Thunder enters this one 16th in the league in scoring offense as they average 111.2 points per game. Oklahoma City is 22nd in rebounding with 43.2 boards a night while ranking 26th in assists by dishing out 22.1 dimes per game. The Thunder stands 10th in the league in scoring defense by allowing 108.1 points per contest. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is leading Oklahoma City with 19.4 points plus 6.3 rebounds per game on the season. Danilo Gallinari contributes 19.2 points plus 5.6 rebounds per game while Chris Paul chips in 17.5 points plus 6.7 assists a night. The Thunder can look to Steven Adams (11.2 points, 9.5 rebounds) and Dennis Schroder (19.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists) in order to get their offense going. Terrance Ferguson, Mike Muscala, Nerlens Noel, Abdel Nader and Darius Bazley all have to contribute for the Thunder to have success. Oklahoma City is 4th in the league in field goal percentage as they hit 47.4 percent from the floor as a team this season. The Thunder is 26th in threes made per game as they drain 10.5 per contest while ranking 16th by hitting 35.7 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.

Milwaukee Bucks Staying Hot

Milwaukee took down Toronto in a showdown of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference for their 50th win in 58 games as a one-point underdog. The Bucks entered Thursday holding a 16-game lead over the Pacers in the Central Division race. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the team leads by eight games over the Raptors for the top spot. Milwaukee trailed by two after the opening quarter and at the half before outscoring Toronto 34-19 in the third quarter. The Bucks didn’t let the Raptors closer than five the rest of the way en route to their fourth straight win. Milwaukee shot 38.1 percent from the field, including 14 of 42 from three-point range, and held Toronto to 35.1 percent shooting. Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 22 points and eight rebounds in the win.

The Bucks are 1st in the league in scoring offense with 119.8 points per game on the season. Milwaukee is first in rebounding by pulling down 51.8 boards per contest while the team is 7th by dishing out 26.2 assists per game. The Bucks are 8th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 107.6 points per contest this season. Giannis Antetokounmpo leads Milwaukee with 29.7 points, 13.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists per contest this season. Khris Middleton chips in 21.1 points plus 6.3 rebounds a night while Brook Lopez contributes 10.8 points a contest. George Hill (9.6 points) and Eric Bledsoe (15.8 points, 5.5 assists) are solid secondary options. Kyle Korver, Robin Lopez, Wesley Matthews, Ersan Ilyasova and Pat Connaughton are solid pieces in the mix as well. Milwaukee is second in the league in field goal percentage by shooting 48.1 percent as a team this season. The Bucks are fourth in threes per game by draining 13.9 triples per contest and stand 14th in three-point shooting by hitting 36.1 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.

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Oklahoma City has been playing well of late but they are logging the second game of a back to back here. It’s also the Thunder’s third game in four nights here and they have to go on the road to face a Milwaukee team that is a sparkling 26-3 at home on the season. The Bucks are rested, having had two days off leading into this game, and they have a ridiculous treasure of riches in their rotation at this point of the year. Milwaukee is an extremely tough team to handle as they are already in the playoffs and cruising toward the top record in the league. Give the Bucks the upper hand behind their stars and their depth as fatigue catches up with the Thunder here.

 

Prediction: Milwaukee Bucks -10.5

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Oklahoma City is a middle of the road offensive team but they are going to have to contend with a Milwaukee team that leads the league in scoring offense and rebounding. The Thunder has a capable offensive attack but they have to face a Milwaukee team that leads the league in field goal percentage defense (41.2 percent) this season. On the flip side, the Bucks are excellent offensively and have to deal with the Thunder, who is 14th in field goal percentage defense (45.7 percent but stands fifth in three-point field goal percentage defense (34.3 percent) this season. This one ends up falling short of the total by a few points.

Prediction: Under 229
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.