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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Milwaukee Bucks

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From an Eastern Conference team at the nadir of its dark days to , the Spurs roll into Milwaukee to battle a Bucks team that's been strong at home this season.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs vs. Milwaukee Bucks

BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI
March 18, 2015, 7:00 PM Spurs Time
TV: FSSW - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

The Bucks have slid off as of late, winning only four of their last 14 games (including last night in New Orleans). It's a dip that has coincided with the team's trade-deadline roster shakeup, which saw the moving of quasi-All Star Brandon Knight and the arrival of former Sixer (and Rookie of the Year) Michael Carter-Williams. The move represented the front office's commitment to the long game, as Knight was due for a payday this summer and evidently didn't form part of the franchise's future picture.

Speaking of long, that move only improved upon one of this roster's greatest physical advantages. Just watch this clip for an idea of what a few extra inches on the wingspan can do for you. If Milwaukee was a kid in your sixth-grade class, it'd definitely be that lanky one with the bristly mustache and cracking voice; they're a tussled thicket of limbs which head coach Jason Kidd has weaved into a formidable defensive unit.

The Bucks produce the second-most steals per game and defend well around the hoop -- factors that have troubled the Spurs in the past. If Carter-Williams plays (his ankle has kept him out recently), it'll be a boon to the Bucks phalanx D that could result in a quieter game from Tony Parker, who continues to look sharp.

But as with the phalanx defense, spacing issues limit the potency of Milwaukee's attack. Carter-Williams brings a few intangibles to the team, but he's not the shooter Knight is, and Giannis' 18% three-point shooting leaves much to be desired at the small-forward position (who knows if that's what he'll play for the majority of his career).

Of course Kidd knows this, which is why his team ranks in the bottom five in threes attempted. Guys like Khris Middleton (who's emerged as a 3 and D metrics darling), Jared Dudley and O.J. Mayo will keep the Spurs defense honest, but the long ball won't likely play into their strategy.

Milwaukee will look to keep this game slow, as they tend to, being one of the slowest-paced teams in the league. It'll probably make something like 102 the golden number for the Spurs offense to post in a win. I think they'll do it and return to San Antonio with another fledgling winning streak in tow.

Matchup to watch: The bench battle. There are interesting matchups between the second units of these teams. San Antonio's execution will probably win out, but players like Jared Dudley, O.J. Mayo and John Henson have all been starters, and each represent tough matchups for their Spur counterparts. It'll be interesting to watch such differing talents face off.

vs.

Milwaukee Bucks (34-33)

San Antonio Spurs (40-23)

March 18, 2015

BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

7:00 PM CDT

TV: FSSW

Radio: WOAI 1200AM

Starters

Michael Carter-Williams

PG

Tony Parker

Khris Middleton

SG

Danny Green

Giannis Antetokounmpo

SF

Kawhi Leonard

Ersan Ilyasova

PF

Tiago Splitter

Zaza Pachulia

C

Tim Duncan


For the Bucks perspective, please visit Brew Hoop.

Game prediction: Spurs by 6.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and you can get your San Antonio Spurs tickets from Daniel Farias with Spurs Sports & Entertainment: Tel: 210-444-5607 | dfarias@attcenter.com