Bucks-Thunder Preview

The Associated Press

After a couple of ugly shooting performances, the Oklahoma City Thunder may be another inaccurate evening away from enduring their longest losing streak in 11 months.

The NBA-worst Milwaukee Bucks know a thing or two about throwing up bricks.

The Thunder look to avoid a third straight loss Saturday night when they host the Bucks, who are coming off their worst offensive performance in a season full of them.

Oklahoma City (27-9) has one of the league's best records, and its average of 105.3 points and 46.7 percent shooting are both among the NBA's top five.

The Thunder haven't looked remotely like a juggernaut lately, though, shooting 37.4 percent from the field while hitting 12 of 58 (20.7 percent) from beyond the arc in back-to-back losses.

They're coming off one of their worst offensive displays of the season in Thursday's 101-88 defeat at Denver. Oklahoma City connected on just 35.3 percent of its field goals, finishing 6 for 24 from long range after missing its first 10 attempts.

"We didn't get a lot of good looks offensively and we didn't move the ball well enough," coach Scott Brooks said. "We took a lot of tough shots and our timing wasn't where it needs to be and we missed a lot of 3s.

"Everything that happened is correctable, which is good. It's not that we had issues. The fact is, everything that we did wrong we can go back and get better."

If not, the Thunder could be headed for their first three-game slide since Feb. 12-20.

Durant leads the NBA with 29.5 points per game, and he's totaled 78 in his last two. However, he missed 16 of 20 shots from 3-point range after coming in as a 42.0 percent shooter from long distance.

Durant hit 3 of 5 from beyond the arc while scoring 24 points in a 92-79 win at Milwaukee (7-28) on Nov. 16, when the now-injured Russell Westbrook led the way with a game-high 26.

The Bucks shot 34.9 percent in that contest, a performance that only registers as the fifth-worst from the field this season for a team that's the NBA's worst at 42.1 percent.

Friday's visit from Chicago was the low point. Milwaukee shot 31.8 percent from the field, including 23.3 percent while scoring only 27 points after halftime in an 81-72 loss.

''We had some good looks but they just didn't fall for us,'' coach Larry Drew said. ''We forced a couple down the stretch that probably weren't the best selection but going down the stretch, if you make plays you'll win if you don't, you won't win.''

Oklahoma City has won four of the past six matchups with the Bucks, but all of those victories came on the road. The Thunder have actually dropped their past two home meetings with Milwaukee, though one was their April 17 regular-season finale as Durant rested.

The Bucks have dropped nine of 10 games against the Western Conference, averaging 87.0 points.

Brandon Knight leads the Bucks with 15.2 points per game, but he's coming off a 12-point, 5-of-21 shooting effort against the Bulls while missing all six 3-point attempts. Knight had averaged 21.7 points over his previous 10 games.

Knight averaged 10.7 points in three career meetings with the Thunder while with Detroit, but missed the November loss with a sore right hamstring.

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