Notebook: Thunder 109, Bucks 99



Posted Mar 31, 2013 12:29 AM

By Rick Braun, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Down five points to a feisty Milwaukee Bucks squad, the Oklahoma City Thunder didn't panic. Kevin Durant scored nine of his 30 points in the final eight minutes as the Thunder used a late run to take a 109-99 victory Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Russell Westbrook added a triple-double of 23 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, while Serge Ibaka had 16 points and eight blocked shots for the Thunder (54-20).

Ersan Ilyasova had 29 points and 14 rebounds for the Bucks (35-37), who saw their magic number to clinch the final Eastern Conference playoff spot remain at four with 10 games to play.

QUOTABLE: "I wish I could take credit for [the late defense]. Our guys did a good job of just getting after it. They had a mentality not to be the one to get scored on. We talk about that during our timeouts, and that was well-executed by our guys. Not one player on the court was going to let their guy have an easy bucket."

-- Thunder coach Scott Brooks on his team's defense the final eight minutes

THE STAT: The Bucks committed just three turnovers in the first 40 minutes of the game. After a timeout while trailing 97-92, the Thunder came out and forced five turnovers in a span of 4:40 during the run that turned the game around.

TURNING POINT: A 3-pointer and a 15-foot jumper by Marquis Daniels gave the Bucks a 92-87 lead with 8:39 left. After a timeout, the Thunder scored the next 12 points -- six by Nick Collison -- and eventually made it a 19-2 run to completely turn the game in its favor.

QUOTABLE II: "It's not just about that. We lost a tough game last night and I wanted to just try to play hard tonight and help my team get the win."

-- Serge Ibaka (four blocks), who took the league lead in blocks per game over Milwaukee's Larry Sanders

HOT: Ibaka made 7 of his 8 shots after going 6-for-18 in the previous two games.

NOT: J.J. Redick made just 4-for-12 shots and is now 75-for-184 (40.8 percent) since coming to the Bucks Feb. 22. He's 29-for-91 on 3-pointers (31.9 percent) with the Bucks, more than seven points below his career average of 39.3 percent.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Westbrook's triple-double also included three steals and a blocked shot.

INSIDE THE ARENA: During a timeout in the first quarter, U.S. Army SPC Nicholas Neumuth was brought out for a surprise reunion with his daughter Alexa, 12, and son Max, 5, who did not know he was back from a 10-month deployment in Afghanistan. ... Milwaukee Brewers Ryan Braun and Rickie Weeks were in the stands. The Brewers open their season on Monday.

GOOD MOVE: Brooks called a timeout with 8:39 left as the Thunder fell behind 92-87. Oklahoma City owned the action the rest of the way.

NOTABLE: Epke Udoh recorded his first career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. ... Ilyasova has now topped 20 points in five of his last seven games. ... Ibaka now has 27 blocks over his last five games.

UP NEXT: For the Thunder, Thursday vs. San Antonio, Friday @ Indiana, Sunday vs. New York. For the Bucks, Monday vs. Charlotte, Wednesday vs. Minnesota, Friday @ New York.