That was a nice surprise, wasn't it? The Spurs finally played with a purpose, and sustained the effort long enough to ensure a comfortable win, giving us an old-fashioned "boring" Spurs blowout.
The Spurs got off to a slow start in the first couple minutes of this game. But, the Bucks got off to an even slower start, and the score was 15-4 after the Spurs started making things happen for a couple of minutes. This was partly because the Spurs were playing good, smart defense, and partly because the Bucks couldn't hit the broadside of DeJuan Blair. Speaking of Blair, he was a monster in the first half, with 6 points and 8 boards in about 10 minutes, IIRC. Also, we might need to talk about this Tim Duncan guy. He had 16 points in the first half, on the way to another great road game. Also, some French guy played less sucky than usual, so there was that. The Spurs defense looked good for most of this game, as the were quick to challenge most shots that Milwaukee took.
The second half was more of the same. After struggling a bit in the first few minutes, the Spurs got everything clicking on offense and really poured it on in the third quarter. Antonio McDyess was literally hitting every shot he took, and the Spurs outscored Milwaukee 33-23 in the quarter. The defense continued to impress, including some nice work by George Hill against Brandon Jennings. Manu Ginobili seemed to be the guy who revved up the offense, getting several assists in the third. In the fourth, the Spurs traded baskets with the Bucks for a while before putting in the "scrubs", who did just enough to keep the game out of reach for Milwaukee.
A few random observations:
The Spurs turned the ball over 16 times, which is still too much. Gotta keep working on that. I liked our 7 steals, though.
31 assists on 46 field goals, which is a great number. I loved the ball movement tonight - even when we missed, we usually had good looks at the basket.
We won the rebounding battle 42-30, and Pop stayed with two bigs for the great majority of the game. Coincidence? I don't think so.
The Spurs' 4 Stars
This is pretty tough. A lot of guys did a lot of things right in this game, so there will definitely be some people left out. But, 4 guys really seemed to shine brighter than the rest.
Tim Duncan - The man continues to dominate. 26 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and a +/- rating of +30. Just another day at the office for the best big man in the league.
Antonio McDyess - Dice made it rain tonight. Aside from one shot where a bad pass got him out of rhythm, he hit every single jumper he took, effectively giving the other guys the ever-important spacing needed to work at maximum efficiency. 14 points and 6 boards in 17 minutes. Not bad, old man... not bad at all.
Manu Ginobili - Manu's line is pretty confusing. On the one hand, his +/- tonight was -8. On the other hand, he had 13 points on 5-6 shooting, 8 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals. It's nice to see Manu have such a good game, after his recent struggles. It's amazing what happens when he plays decisively.
Tony Parker - Credit where credit is due. Tony played a very effective game tonight, even though his jumpshot wasn't falling again. 16 points, 8 assists, 6-7 from the line, and only one turnover earned Tony this spot. Update: Watching the game again on DVR, I observe him doing a great defensive job on Jennings - props, Tony.
Check out BrewHoop for the oposition's take.