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News » Thunder runs out of juice

Thunder runs out of juice

Thunder runs out of juice
MILWAUKEE - Back-to-back games haven't exactly been the recipe for success for Oklahoma City this season. Throw in the hot hand of Milwaukee's Richard Jefferson, and the mix became a recipe for disaster on Saturday night.

Jefferson scored a game-high 35 points to lead the Bucks to a 115-98 win over the Thunder in front of an announced crowd of 15,418 inside the Bradley Center.

Following one of its best defensive efforts of the season one night earlier in an 84-81 victory over Charlotte, the Thunder allowed Milwaukee to shoot 52.4 percent from the field and never could put a lid on Jefferson.

"You could see that (Friday) night's emotional win took something out of them," said Bucks coach Scott Skiles.

And Jefferson made sure he sapped Oklahoma City of whatever remaining juice it might have had.

The eighth-year forward hit 13 of 21 shots, including four of five for 13 points in a third quarter in which Milwaukee outscored the Thunder 37-21 to extend a five-point halftime lead to 21 entering the final period.

With the Bucks ultimately leading by as many as 24 points, coach Scott Brooks was left no choice but to bury Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook on the bench for the entire fourth period.

"We were not focused, especially in the third quarter," said the Thunder's Nenad Krstic. "There was no energy. We were not really motivated for the game or something, I don't know. But it's no excuses."

Oklahoma City will finish the season 5-12 in the second game of back-to-backs and fell to 22-58 on the year heading into Monday and Wednesday's season-ending set at Portland and the Los Angeles Clippers.

"It's disappointing we didn't have a good carryover," said Brooks of the effort put forth in Friday's home finale. "The energy - whether it was sapped from (Friday) or not - was still unacceptable. You still have to bring it and compete. The tough part in this league is doing it every night. And we're still learning and still have to get better in that area."

Durant scored a team-high 19 points, and Westbrook took another step forward in his development at point guard with 13 points, seven rebounds, six assists and only one turnover.

But the Thunder shot just 42.4 percent from the field and turned the ball over 16 times, which led to 18 Bucks points.

"When we're not hitting shots, we've got to get stops on the other end," said Durant. "We didn't. Give credit to the Bucks. They came out with a lot of fire and made a lot of shots. When (Jefferson) is knocking down his jump shot, (there's) nothing you can do about it. We were getting hands up and contesting, but they were going in. He had a great night."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: April 15, 2009


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