The champs were here: Spurs 114 – Bucks 103

San Antonio Spurs 114 Final
Recap | Box Score
103 Milwaukee Bucks
Ersan Ilyasova, PF 33 MIN | 7-14 FG | 1-3 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | -19 +/-

A good night could have been even better for Ersan. I’m sure he’d love to have back a pair of 3-point looks the Spurs gifted to him in the first half. Twice he took threes without anyone in his vicinity, only to watch them bounce harmlessly off the rim. He struggled to contain Boris Diaw whenever they were matched up, as the bulky Frenchman was especially dialed in and effective on offense, but Ersan was able to get his a bit.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 37 MIN | 8-16 FG | 3-3 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | -2 +/-

He seemed like the only reliable member of the team on Wednesday night. He knocked down a couple of jumpers and was able to find enough space to attack on multiple occasions, leading to a few difficult layups and a couple of ferocious dunks. His movement off the ball was very good. He often kept the ball moving too, but his passes weren’t always rewarded, as at least a few times he would quickly swing the ball to an open teammate outside the perimeter, only to have that teammate quickly put the ball on the ground and fail to take the open shot. Such is life around bad 3-point shooters like MCW and Tyler Ennis.

Zaza Pachulia, C 17 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-4 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -5 +/-

Zaza has to be leading the league in number of offensive rebounds that lead to missed putbacks or blocked shots. Between he and Ersan, it’s impossible to tell if the Bucks have a starting front line that gives opponents trouble or is holding the Bucks back. Both of them keep a lot of balls alive, but each blows his fair share of shots around the rim. They alternately have hands of stone and the grace of a guard.

Kidd noted after the game that Zaza looked a little out of energy after going hard in overtime against the Pelicans the night before, which is what opened up time for Miles Plumlee.

Michael Carter-Williams, PG 34 MIN | 3-9 FG | 5-6 FT | 0 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 11 PTS | -9 +/-

This was not an especially “loud” evening for MCW. San Antonio played his attacks at the basket pretty well, forcing him into tough shots that were either blocked or missed more often than not. Defensively, he, like many of his teammates, struggled to rotate over to help guys after timely passes from San Antonio, leading to a lot of open looks both at the rim and outside the arc for the Spurs.

Khris Middleton, SG 30 MIN | 5-8 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | -8 +/-

This was only the second time in the month of March in which Middleton did not attempt at least 10 shots. He handled the ball quite a bit early in the fourth quarter when Ennis was handling point guard duties, but he never really seems quite as comfortable or natural when he’s attempting to probe a defense and dribbling a half dozen times. The more he’s off the ball and catching and making a quick decision, the better he seems to play. The Bucks weren’t able to find him in the corners as often against San Antonio, which may be a credit to the Spurs’ defense.

Johnny O’Bryant III, PF 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +2 +/-

Immediately turned the ball over and did little else.

Chris Johnson, SF 10 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -1 +/-

When San Antonio went into a zone for a period in the second quarter, he was able to connect on a three. He was able to keep the Spurs honest with his shooting and ball movement, but he was a little bit buried behind Milwaukee’s other guards, as Kidd went with lineups featuring both MCW and Ennis quite a bit in the second half.

Miles Plumlee, C 18 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +5 +/-

He didn’t play in the first half, but he made the most of his second half minutes with his Bucks high of 11 rebounds. His one block was a nice rejection of a soft, Tim Duncan floater around the rim. Kidd repeated a number of times after the game that he has to find a way to get Plumlee more minutes.

John Henson, C 13 MIN | 2-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -11 +/-

He missed a point blank layup at the rim when trying to use his right hand. I’m sure it was just a flukey miss, but it’s amazing how much less comfortable he always seems to be whenever he has to use his dominant hand.

Tyler Ennis, PG 20 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -3 +/-

If he could offer anything as a shooter, his minutes would really be effective. He hasn’t turned the ball over as frequently of late and he did some good things in this game. But after making a layup in the fourth quarter, he seemed to press for his own offense a bit, which is one of the last things the Bucks needed.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 24 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -4 +/-

He was playing okay, but came out of the game after receiving a flagrant for undercutting Marco Belinelli on a 3-point attempt. They had exchanged words just before and Bayless seemed to take offense at something that happened moments earlier, as he was holding his arm and jawing at Belinelli. The ref kind of gave the two of them a warning, but Bayless did not heed it. Prior to the flagrant, he did some okay things as a scorer, which gave Milwaukee’s bench some punch it had been lacking of late.

Jason Kidd
At one point, with about four minutes to go and the Bucks down 12 or so, he went with a lineup that featured O’Bryant, Giannis, MCW, Ennis and Plumlee. I can’t think of a lineup that has less 3-point shooting potential. After the game Kidd remained stoic and effectively said the Spurs are a tough team. He didn’t seem too concerned with Milwaukee’s defensively struggles, but did note that they were going to have to find more energy the rest of this season.

One Thing We Saw

  1. San Antonio’s ball movement and player movement was as good as advertised. The way players drove with the intention of finding teammates and the way guys were so in sync as they darted around outside the arc handing the ball off and alternately attacking the basket was very impressive. Milwaukee’s traditionally aggressive defense was exposed at times, as over and over the Spurs found themselves wide open in the corners for three due to Milwaukee failing to rotate and recover.

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6 Comments

  1. I had a great time at the game last nighy and especially loved the energy of the crowd. Losing by 11 to the defending Champs isn’t all bad considering our 3 point shooting is terrible. Great time to be a bucks fan though and the future is bright

  2. First time posting here but have followed this blog since the jennings and ellis days and I’m a huge fan. I gotta say that this season has taken a turn for the worst but i trust the bucks FO to know what they’re doing and am a fan on the knight trade. One sliver lining is giannis in the last 9 games is averaging 16.1 pts 7.2 rbs and 2.6 asts! Go bucks!

  3. TheLastoftheBucksFans

    I don’t know how many more times I can watch Bayless miss a long 2 with plenty of time on the shot clock..

    As I was watching it seemed like SA was way better at making threes, but when I looked at the box score they shot like 8-20 and the Bucks were 7-14. It had to have been demoralizing when the Spurts seemingly had an endless supply of good looks.

  4. You are correct Jason, you do need to find more minutes for Miles…just not at John’s expense. ZaZa is having a fantastic season and has been great for this team. But he will be a Buck for at most 1 more season..Henson and Plumlee could both be part of the team long term. #ownthefuture

  5. Just wondering about Mayo and Dudley. I don’t remember them being hurt before the all star break. Then the all star break was 8 days long. Then after that they each played a couple of games and that was it. But that was a month ago.

    I mean what’s wrong with these guys? I’m smelling a post trade abandon ship by the VETS Mayo and Dudley. Also since the trade our team chemistry looks gone. I can see the players thinking “if the Bucks don’t value a best player, leader type in Knight” and the team is also winning. Then what’s the point in playing? Mayo took a dump on last season. Sanders did this season. What’s the old saying? Once a quitter always a quitter”?

    • Mayo pulled his hammy in the 4th quarter of either the first or second post all star break game and tried to play through it for a few games. Dudley played through his injury for a while but was very limited and ineffective, so now he is out. Those two were key factors in our chemistry. They’ll be fine. Also, notice how easy the schedule was leading up to the ASG and how difficult it has been since. The Bucks were 7-19 against plus .500 teams with Knight and when they were healthy, so losing to these teams now shouldn’t be a surprise.