Michael Redd, Richard Jefferson and Charlie Villanueva each scored 20 points and the Milwaukee Bucks spoiled the Oklahoma City Thunder’s debut with a 98-87 win on Wednesday night.


Michael Redd, Richard Jefferson and Charlie Villanueva each scored 20 points and the Milwaukee Bucks spoiled the Oklahoma City Thunder’s debut with a 98-87 win on Wednesday night.
Playing their opener after moving from Seattle in the offseason, the Thunder made it interesting by cutting a 24-point deficit to 11 in the fourth quarter before Redd re-entered the game and got an easy layup underneath.
Villanueva followed with a basket off an offensive rebound, and Charlie Bell’s 3-pointer from the left wing provided a 97-79 lead with 2:32 to play.
At least the late rally gave a sellout crowd of 19,136 something to cheer about after a miserable start by the Thunder.
Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant was held scoreless in the first half as the Bucks took advantage of Oklahoma City’s shooting woes to pull ahead.
Andrew Bogut added 14 points and Bell scored 11 for Milwaukee. Villanueva also had 12 rebounds.
Chris Wilcox led Oklahoma City with 15 points off the bench, first-round pick Russell Westbrook scored 13 in his debut and Durant finished with 12 on 5-for-14 shooting.
Oklahoma City started 2-for-12 from the field, and Milwaukee took its first 10-point lead before the midway point of the first period. Redd then hit his first 3-pointer and stole the ball from Durant for a fast-break layup during a 10-1 lead that pushed the Bucks’ lead to 39-21.
Jefferson, Redd and Villanueva then hit 3-pointers early in the second half as the Bucks had little trouble against a Thunder defense that was the fourth-worst in the league last season.
The lead grew to 71-47 after Villanueva scored off the Bucks’ fourth offensive rebound of the same possession and then he and Jefferson combined to hit four free throws.
There was a block party outside the Ford Center before the game, and NBA commissioner David Stern welcomed Oklahoma City to the league in a pregame appearance at midcourt.
Durant and fellow All-Rookie teammate Jeff Green didn’t score in the first half, and the Thunder couldn’t recover from their slow start.
Johan Petro had the Thunder’s first official shot with a missed jumper from the left wing, and Bogut made the first basket of the game, 39 seconds in. Earl Watson had Oklahoma City’s first points on a layup 13 seconds later.
Notes: Gov. Brad Henry and former Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer were among those joining Thunder chairman Clay Bennett in front row seats. ... Graham Colton, the quarterback on New England Patriots receiver Wes Welker’s high school team in Oklahoma City, performed the national anthem. ... Former Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson, who left the Sooners for an ill-fated stint at Indiana, is an assistant with the Bucks. ... Thunder coach P.J. Carlesimo said C Mouhamed Sene could be cleared by doctors Friday and be available to play Saturday at Houston.