Shellacked in San Antonio: Spurs 95 – Bucks 70

Milwaukee Bucks 70 Final
Recap | Box Score
95 San Antonio Spurs
Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 26 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-1 3FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -13 +/-

Giannis is officially in a slump.

He’s now scored in single-digits in three straight games – he hadn’t had back-to-back single-digit games prior to Monday – while attempting a total of 23 shots in his last 97 minutes. Against a defense like the Spurs’, driving lanes are few and far between, and they’re even more difficult to find with Kawhi Leonard shadowing. Giannis showed some aggression early, drawing a foul on a swift eurostep and blowing past Manu Ginobili on the baseline. That quickly tapered off, however, and he attempted only three field goals in the second half, one of which was blocked. His lone make in the second half came on a wide open mid-range jumper with Leonard giving him several feet of room.

On a more positive note, Giannis was the primary reason Leonard was held to 13 points on 3-of-12 shooting. He was flawless, defensively, on this possession near the end of the first half.

Greg Monroe, C 28 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-0 3FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | -17 +/-

Confused/mesmerized by San Antonio’s interior cutting and passing at times, Monroe struggled defensively as the Spurs scored 48 points in the paint. He was matched up with Duncan for most of the night, and the 37-year-old put up a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double in just 20 minutes.

Offensively, Monroe was able to use his body to clear space on LaMarcus Aldridge and David West, but though he wasn’t quite as successful in one-on-ones with Duncan. One thing that stuck out to me is how well the Spurs’ big men use their hands to disrupt drives and passing lanes. The Bucks continually struggled to control the ball in the paint, and while that’s been an issue for most of the season, credit is due to Duncan, West, Leonard and Boris Diaw.

Monroe did not play in the fourth quarter. Jason Kidd opened the period with Tyler Ennis, Michael Carter-Williams, O.J. Mayo, Jabari Parker and John Henson, and that group played until the 7:05 mark, when Kidd officially waived the white flag and brought in Johnny O’Bryant, Miles Plumlee and Chris Copeland.

Monroe also did not share the court with Henson, as has been the case almost exclusively. The pair have logged only 11 minutes together this season in parts of two games.

Tyler Ennis, PG 24 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-3 3FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -12 +/-

Ennis got the start in place of Bayless and was a virtual non-factor while playing with the first group. Both of his field goals came late in the game during garbage time.

Khris Middleton, SG 30 MIN | 6-11 FG | 1-2 3FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | -18 +/-

On a night when Milwaukee shot a scorching 33.8% from the field, Middleton was one of only two players to make at least half of his shots (Henson, who went 2-for-2, was the other).

Middleton opened the scoring with three free throws after drawing a foul on Kawhi Leonard on the Bucks’ first possession but did not score again until drilling a three with just under a minute left in the first quarter.

Save for a few misguided runners in the first quarter, Middleton was his usual, in-control self, finishing with a team-high 16 points and playing mostly solid defense, though Leonard burned him on a baseline drive in the first quarrier. He was also part of a miscommunication that led to a wide open Tony Parker three during San Antonio’s run in the third quarter.

O.J. Mayo, SG 24 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 2 PTS | -22 +/-

Starting for the third straight game, Mayo was a game-low (high?) minus-22 in 24 minutes. As has been the case throughout his Bucks tenure, if his jumpshots aren’t falling, he’s not of much utility offensively. That said, he made a couple of nice interior passes off of drives, one of which set John Henson up for a dunk off of a pick and roll.

From the department of stats no one cares about: Mayo’s six rebounds were his most since February of last season.

Jabari Parker, PF 26 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-1 3FG | 5-6 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -11 +/-

This was not one of Parker’s better showings. Again coming off the bench, Parker entered at the 5:37 mark and immediately attacked and draw a foul on Danny Green on his first touch. He connected on both free throws and went 5-of-6 from the line overall on the night. Parker’s lone field goal was this dunk off of a baseline inbounds play. (Sidebar: Is it possible to become more athletic after an ACL tear? Because that seems to be what’s happened here).

John Henson, PF 13 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 3FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -7 +/-

Active as usual, Henson simply struggled to find a rhythm while playing only 13 minutes, five of which came at the start of the fourth quarter with the game already well out of reach. Henson had a pair of blocks, finished a quick jumper in the lane and flushed home a dunk off of a pass from O.J. Mayo after a rare Spurs defensive breakdown.

Johnny O’Bryant III, PF 7 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-1 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -1 +/-

Played seven minutes of garbage time, entering alongside Plumlee and Copeland with the Bucks trailing by 24. Made a jumper and finished a layup + the foul but missed the free throw.

Chris Copeland, SF 7 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -1 +/-

Racked up three assists in just over seven minutes. Next-level vision.

Miles Plumlee, C 7 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -1 +/-

Seven minutes of garbage time. Nothing to report.

Michael Carter-Williams, PG 30 MIN | 2-10 FG | 0-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -15 +/-

Could MCW string together two straight positive showings after going for 12 points, nine assists, six rebounds, three blocks and three steals Monday against Denver? No. The answer is no.

Carter-Williams wasn’t as outright bad as he’s been at times this season, but he finished with only four points on an ugly 2-of-10 shooting. He had a few glaring lapses defensively (failing to get through screens, losing Tony Parker off the ball), which Marques Johnson was quick to note, but Kidd was forced to stick with him for 30 minutes on a night when Jerryd Bayless was curiously a DNP-CD.

Rashad Vaughn, SG 17 MIN | 2-8 FG | 2-4 3FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -7 +/-

Vaughn entered for Giannis with around three minutes left in the first quarter and was active right away. He got out in transition and finished a nice spin move against Diaw but was called for what looked like a very questionable offensive foul. You be the judge. Marques Johnson chalked the whistle up to Diaw’s “big primal yell” as Vaughn makes contact.

On Milwaukee’s next possession, he hit a wide open three off of a baseline drive and kick from Carter-Williams. With under a minute to play in the quarter, Vaughn made a quick move and drained a tough baseline floater, only to have it waived off, as he stepped out of bounds prior to driving.

Kidd stuck with Vaughn to open the second quarter, but he picked up his third foul less than three minutes in and didn’t return until the start of the fourth quarter. The rookie played the entire fourth quarter, missing two threes, making another, and getting two shots blocked.

Things We Saw

  1. San Antonio’s game ops played a ton of music I can only describe as “general rock.” At most arenas, you hear the same songs, or at least genres, over and and over, but the Spurs were hitting the rock hard Wednesday night. It also seemed like more music than normal was happening while the game was going on. So that’s probably why the Bucks lost.
  2. As noted above, Jerryd Bayless didn’t play, though he was dressed and on the bench. Kidd, of course, was asked about it post-game, and he basically declined to elaborate, saying only that he “just didn’t want to play him tonight. I wanted to get a look at Tyler [Ennis]. That was it.” Marques Johnson speculated on the telecast that it was likely a disciplinary issue – that’s how these situations tend to play out – but at this point it’s unclear whether that’s true or not. Chances are, we’ll never find out for sure.
  3. Boris Diaw showing raaaaaange.
  4. The rebounding battle was close for most of the game, but the Spurs finished with a 53-44 overall advantage, and an 11-8 advantage on the offensive glass.
  5. San Antonio has now won seven in a row over Milwaukee, and the Bucks haven’t won in San Antonio since December of 2008, when Michael Redd’s 25 points and 10 rebounds were too much for Michael Finley (20 points) and Tim Duncan (22) to overcome.

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  1. We are so terribly, awfully bad I just fuggin’ hate it. Don’t get me wrong, I knew we wouldn’t be good, but c’mon – this isn’t even the fun kind of bad to watch, it’s downright frustrating.

  2. What I would like to see the Bucks do is obtain a true point guard. It is not a cure all, but on nights when the team is struggling offensively a true point guard can get Parker, Gianni’s and other players the ball at more opportune times during the game. Provide an opportunity for some easier baskets. That I imagine could help the younger players not get down on themselves. That’s just a start of what the Bucks need, but I’ll leave the other needs for some other fan to articulate on.

  3. I guess you can credit the Spurs for “holding” the Bucks to 70 points if you want to. But the Bucks had plenty of good looks that didn’t go down. The perimeter shooting was nowhere to be seen.

    Let’s face it- our back court play is utterly pathetic right now. MCW looked terrible (again). He just is not a pass 1st player. He reminds me of Jennings in that their nature is to look to shoot the ball and not to pass especially when things get tough. Mayo simply can’t shoot (but loves to) his quality of play seems to shrink every year. I won’t even bother to mention Ennis. Without Bayless the perimeter shooting was totally dead.

    Kidd is going to have to allow Jabari and Giannis to shoot 3’s at some point soon.

    On the bright side: our d played basically well considering how awful the offense is.

    • MCW and Mayo almost killed me with their shoot selection. C`mom! If they forgot how to shoot the ball, please do not shoot the ball!

  4. Ugh,….I’m very concerned.
    Are the BUCKS once again the BUCKS? Failing to compete, poor shot selection, wretched defensive effort, LOST ON THE HARDWOOD!

    We fans CANNOT GO THROUGH A SEASON LIKE THIS , our expectations have elevated- with good reason.

    Get your asses in gear, play some DEFENSE, earn our respect and loyalty