Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Milwaukee Bucks

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs will try to win their second game in a row when they visit the struggling, depleted Bucks.

San Antonio Spurs at Milwaukee Bucks

BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI
December 7, 2013, 7:00 PM Spurs Time
TV: FSSW- RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

The San Antonio Spurs travel to Milwaukee tonight to finish off the second-half of the first of two back-to-backs this week. The Spurs enter the game 3-2 on the second-half of back-to-backs this season, with losses coming to Portland in the third game of the season and to the Rockets more recently. If the Spurs had to pick a team to play on the second night of a back-to-back, the team with the worst record in the East, a feat unto itself, is not a bad pick.

This is a true David vs. Goliath battle; however, I'm not sure David even has a sling-shot in this scenario. The Bucks are 5-16 entering Wednesday's game after beating Chicago on Tuesday. Milwaukee is the worst scoring team in the league at 90.8 points per game and 28th in the league in rebounds per game. The Bucks are in the middle of the pack in assists and points allowed per game.

Milwaukee doesn't have a loaded roster to begin with, but injuries to Caron Butler and Zaza Pachulia have depleted an already thin roster when you consider that Luke Ridnour was scratched against the Nets a few days ago due to a coach's decision. That leaves most of the scoring responsibilities on the shoulders of O.J. Mayo, who leads the team with 15.3 points per game. Butler was second on the team, and may or may not return in time for San Antonio.

John Henson and Khris Middleton have been solid at power forward, each averaging just over 11 points per game. Point guard Brandon Knight leads the way with 4.3 assists on top of his usual 10 points per game. Milwaukee has six players that average in double figures, but none that average more than 15.3 points per game, and with Butler out, it is hard to imagine the Bucks scoring many points against a Spurs defense that is still one of the best in the league.

The Bucks will still be without their outstanding rim-protector in Larry Sanders, who tore a ligament in his thumb in early November. He just had the pins in his thumb removed from his surgery, but will not see action against the Spurs.

Former Spur Gary Neal is contributing off of the bench when he checks in for Mayo, averaging just over 10 points a game in 21.7 minutes, but he injured his foot (planter fasciitis) in last night's game. The Bucks will throw out a lot of lineup combinations and substitutions, but the offensive liabilities on this team make it hard to believe that the Bucks could threaten any of the top teams in the NBA, on any night. A team that can't score can't win, and the Bucks simply cannot score on a consistent basis.

The Bucks are missing Butler, Sanders, Neal, and Pachulia. As long as the Spurs remember they are playing an actual NBA game, they should win handily.

Matchup to watch: Since O.J. Mayo is the only real cog that can make this offense go, look for the Spurs to force him off of his spots, and to collapse on him around the basket. If the Bucks are forced to ride anyone other than Mayo to a victory, it will end in a good night for San Antonio.

Lineups

Starters
PG: Tony Parker
SG: Danny Green
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: Tim Duncan
C: Aron Baynes


Key Bench Players
Manu Ginobili
Marco Belinelli
Patty Mills
Boris Diaw


Head Coach
Gregg Popovich

Lineups

Starters
PG: Brandon Knight
SG: O.J. Mayo
SF: Khris Middleton
PF: Ekpe Udoh
C: John Henson

Key Bench Players
Ersan Ilyasova

Head Coach

Larry Drew


The perspective of Bucks' fans can be found here: Brew Hoop

Game Prediction: Spurs by 18.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and NBA league pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Almost every Spurs game will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area. Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate.

Get your San Antonio Spurs tickets from Daniel Farias with Spurs Sports & Entertainment:

Tel: 210-444-5607 | dfarias@attcenter.com

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