Thunder-Bucks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 09, 2012
Nba_bucks_vs_5d3b
The Milwaukee Bucks' four-game winning streak against suspect competition has aided their quest for one of the Eastern Conference's final playoff berths, but facing tough opponents hasn't been their strong suit. Enter the Oklahoma City Thunder, who visit the Bradley Center on Monday night tied atop the West. Milwaukee (28-28) sits in ninth place in the East, one game behind deadlocked New York and Philadelphia with 10 games remaining. The Bucks beat Portland 116-94 on Saturday for their fourth consecutive win - all against teams below .500. Beno Udrih and Brandon Jennings each scored 21 points for Milwaukee, which outscored the Trail Blazers 62-31 in the second half. Jennings said coach Scott Skiles reminded the team of its dismal 9-24 record against teams above .500, saying it needed to take advantage of struggling Portland. The Bucks are 19-4 against teams below .500. "I think the problem with us is that we struggle with teams over .500," Jennings said. "Coach told us if we want to make the playoffs, this is where we have to make our stand." The big lead allowed Skiles to give his starters a break in the fourth quarter. "Anytime right now we can find a little rest is important," Skiles said. "We're getting down near the end here and there's no question fatigue is setting in for a lot of teams. Anytime we can get these guys some rest it's great." Jennings said Milwaukee needs to carry over the solid effort with Oklahoma City (41-15) coming to town. "For 48 minutes, we just have to go out there and give our all," Jennings said. "They're one of the top teams in the Western Conference, so it's going to be a tough one on Monday." Each of the last three matchups have been close, with the Bucks winning two. Milwaukee won 103-97 in overtime Jan. 2, 2010, then fell 82-81 on Nov. 20, 2010. Jennings scored a team-high 16 points in a 110-106 overtime road victory April 13, 2011, though both teams relied heavily on their benches in that regular-season finale. Oklahoma City remained tied with San Antonio - winner of 11 straight - atop the West by snapping a season-high three-game skid. Those losses came against opponents that are a combined 46 games above .500, but the Thunder bounced back with a 91-75 win over lowly Toronto on Sunday. Kevin Durant scored a game-high 23 points as the Thunder used a 24-0 second-half run to pull away. "We talked about that yesterday - to finish strong in all quarters,'' coach Scott Brooks said. "I didn't think we had a great finish in the second quarter but we did a good job in the second half. We look for that and we wanted to see some progress in that area and I thought the guys really locked in and focused on closing out the quarters.'' Russell Westbrook added 15 points on only 12 shots - well below his average of 19.5 attempts - as Oklahoma City improved to 12-5 against the East. Milwaukee will be the last team it faces from the opposing conference unless it makes a run to the NBA finals.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Chad Johnson says Roger Goodell consulted him on touchdown celebration rule change

Kevin Durant is not to blame for the NBA’s lack of parity, and he knows it

Khloe Kardashian called out Cavs fan who mentioned ‘curse’

Warriors’ Mike Brown: Steve Kerr may be back for the Finals

Dodgers transfer Andrew Toles and Scott Kazmir to the 60-day disabled list

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Looking back at 40 years of women racing in the Indianapolis 500

U.S. national soccer teams to wear LGBT-themed jerseys to celebrate pride month

Mike Zimmer: Teddy Bridgewater still has ‘long ways to go’

Turkey: Kanter a member of terrorist group, issues warrant

Report: Seahawks players feel Sherman bombshell story ‘nailed it’

Report: Clippers concerned about Chris Paul leaving to sign with Spurs

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker