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OKC Thunder bounces back to beat Bucks

After a subpar performance at Minnesota, the Thunder clamped down defensively in Milwaukee
by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 30, 2013

Westbrook led the way with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, relentlessly attacking while Serge Ibaka anchored the defense by blocking a season-high eight shots as part of a superb all-around performance that included 16 points and seven rebounds.

Oklahoma City held Milwaukee to 37.8 percent shooting, largely because it hounded Milwaukee's starting backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis into a combined 17 points on 6-for-30 shooting.

“Our attitude was great tonight, on both ends,” Durant said. “When they made that run we stayed composed, … It was a great job from top to bottom. Everybody did their job.”

Kevin Martin and Collison both came off the bench to score 17 and 10, respectively. Their efforts helped the Thunder's bench outscore Milwaukee's 33-29 a night after Minnesota's second unit outscored the Thunder's 33-17.

Ersan Illyasova led Milwaukee with 29 points and 14 rebounds. Edmond Santa Fe product Ekpe Udoh scored 14 points with 11 rebounds off the bench, Larry Sanders and Marquis Daniels each chipped in 12 points and J.J. Redick added 10 points.

The Thunder led 56-46 at halftime behind ball movement (15 assists on 22 made field goals), a balanced attack and suffocating defense that held Milwaukee to 31.5 percent shooting.

But the Bucks stormed back in the third quarter, outscoring the Thunder 37-27 in the period thanks to a combined 18 points and eight rebounds from Illyasova and Sanders and five OKC turnovers.

The final eight minutes, when the Thunder clamped down and dug in defensively, ultimately is what allowed OKC to dodge a potential disaster.

“You can't shoot 37 percent and expect to beat a team like Oklahoma City,” Boylan said.