Bucks vs. Thunder Preview (Preseason Game 4)

bucks vs okc logo

  • When: Tuesday, 09 October 2018 at 7:00 pm CST
  • Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
  • TV: FSOK/NBATV
  • Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 930 AM (Spanish))

There was a play on Sunday that encapsulated what exactly Thunder fans are hoping for from Paul George this season. In the second quarter, as the Thunder were finally getting a hold of the game, George jumped up to steal a cross-court pass attempt on the defensive end of the floor. He then dribbled the ball up court and calmly stepped into a transition three that swished through. The Thunder went up by 10 at that point and never looked back. 

It’s those types of plays that Thunder fans were expecting from George consistently last season, but were, oftentimes, left wanting more. Maybe it was the elbow. Maybe the knee. Or maybe it was the lack of chemistry and cohesion on the court. But the Paul George that we are seeing in this preseason is the Paul George that made a name for himself in Indiana.

If this is the PG we get this season, then that changes the narrative, not just on the initial trade, but also on his re-signing with Oklahoma City. If we got an 80% PG last season, and he knew it, then the “unfinished business” quote at the end of the season makes total sense.

Injuries

Thunder

  • Russell Westbrook (knee) – Out
  • Andre Roberson (knee) – Out
  • Terrance Ferguson (head) – Out
  • Abdel Nader (knee) – Doubtful

Bucks

  • Thon Maker (knee) – Out
  • Trevon Duval (eye) – Out
  • Ersan Ilyasova (hamstring) – Out
  • DJ Wilson (hamstring) – Out
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (rest) – Out
  • Brook Lopez (rest) – Out
  • Khris Middleton (rest) – Out
  • Eric Bledsoe (rest) – Out

3 Things In This Game

1. Beware of Injuries

The Bucks are resting their guys like it is the last game of the season and they have their playoff positioning locked in. I understand it’s preseason, but it really is a shame that Milwaukee decided to rest literally half of their team. While I don’t think OKC will do the same, I wouldn’t mind if the main rotation players only saw one half of action. There will be guys out there on Milwaukee’s side of the ball who will be vying for playing time and/or an NBA contract, and so may be a little more willing to throw their bodies around as opposed to someone who is gearing up for an 82-game season.

2. Bench

So far, the reserves for the Thunder have acquitted themselves very well. Over the past two games, both blow-out victories, the bench has averaged 56 points. Of course, that number is likely inflated by the fact that blowouts lead to more minutes from the bench. But that’s also not taking into the account the great job the bench players have done when they are in the game with the starters. Normally, the flow of the game changes when a Paul George or a Steven Adams is no longer on the floor. But, that hasn’t been the case in the preseason. Replace Adams with Nerlens Noel, and the game plan stays the same. Replace Patrick Patterson with Jerami Grant, and it’s business as usual.

3. Baseline Ref

Don’t worry. Antetokounmpo isn’t playing. Y’all are off the hook for today.

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