NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, April 9th (All times eastern)
Oklahoma City Thunder (41-15) at Milwaukee Bucks (28-28), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Milwaukee Bucks resume their late season chase for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference tonight when they host a powerhouse from the West, the Oklahoma City Thunder.
A four-game winning streak against shaky competition has the Bucks racing up behind the slumping Philadelphia 76ers and the New York Knicks. Milwaukee, currently in ninth place in the East, is just a game behind both Philly and New York with 10 games to play.
The Bucks earned their fourth straight victory on Saturday when Brandon Jennings and Beno Udrih scored 21 points apiece as Milwaukee used a dominant second half to run away with a 116-94 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers at Bradley Center.
Ersan Ilyasova added 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Monta Ellis finished with 17 points and seven assists for the Bucks, who have taken care of business when playing inferior teams, amassing a 19-4 mark against clubs playing under .500 on the season.
"We felt like we had more energy so when we came out for the second half, we just wanted to pick them up on the full court and make it tough for them," said Ellis. "We did and we ran away with the game."
A three-game losing streak cost Oklahoma City its spot atop the Western Conference but the Thunder were able to get things moving in the right direction again on Sunday by topping Toronto, 91-75, at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Kevin Durant netted 23 points on 7-for-14 shooting in just three quarters of action as Oklahoma City cruised past the Raptors. James Harden scored 17 points off the bench and Russell Westbrook added 15 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Thunder.
"We came out with a little more urgency on both ends," Durant said.
After leading the West for most of the season, Oklahoma City finds itself percentage points behind surging San Antonio for the No. 1 seed. The Spurs have won 11 in a row, including a 114-104 win over the Jazz on Sunday to keep pace with OKC.
Home cooking has meant a lot in this series recently with the host taking 12 of the last 15 matchups. The Bucks are 15-12 at Bradley Center this season while the Thunder are 17-10 in 2011-12 as the visitor.
04/09 10:47:20 ET