November 24th, 2018 | 7:30 CT
Watch: FSSW/NBATV | Listen: WOAI
San Antonio Spurs (9-9) at Milwaukee Bucks (13-5)
San Antonio Spurs: Dejounte Murray (Out Indefinitely - Knee), Lonnie Walker IV (Targeting December Return - Knee), Pau Gasol (Day to Day - Foot)
Milwaukee Bucks: John Henson (recovery from wrist surgery), D.J. Wilson (hamstring), Donte DiVincenzo (quad)
There are two reactions to have heading into the matchup between the Spurs and the Milwaukee Bucks this Saturday: the first is that the Boston Celtics made the Bucks look bad when the two played each other on November 1st. They made them look so bad — continually collapsing the defense again and again before kicking the ball out so someone could shoot a three again and again — that when the national media reacted with a ‘Wow’ when the Bucks beat the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, it was difficult to get as worked up alongside them. That particular reaction carried with it a simple message: if you plan well against the Bucks — if you’re aware that the defense is exceptionally vulnerable to pull-up shooters and pick-and-pops — then you don’t have to worry.
As the Bucks annihilate the Blazers, a quick reminder that they’re at least 3 points per 100 possessions better than every other team in the NBA. Outscoring teams by 10.6 per 100, which would be the second-best non-Warriors net rating in the last 10 years. This team is GOOD.— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) November 22, 2018
The second reaction to have is the reaction a decent swath of the rest of the league has been having — and with good reason — and it’s a fairly simple message as well: “Uh oh.” (And that ‘Uh oh’ — intended as an attempt to verbalize a stunned and wandering wide-eyed silence — may or may not be a reason why this preview is late.)
If the previous match-up against Golden State is any indication as to how the Spurs will do against a high-powered offense tonight, then there might be reason to be encouraged: Bryn Forbes made use of an early, energetic, and unexpected full-court defense early in the game; Rudy Gay utilized his length on both ends of the floor; and the team shot the three with a crisp, healthy percentage.
And the latter will be the key: the Bucks’ defense may limit some of the Spurs’s midrange game, but — as long as the Spurs are mindful of small things, like Lopez’s adjustment on the pick and roll — don’t think that won’t mean that Forbes, Rudy Gay, Patty Mills, Marco Belinelli, and Davis Bertans won’t get looks of their own.
That suggests that there are three potential outcomes in the game: either the Spurs eke it out, the Bucks eke it out, or the Bucks blow the Spurs out.
Vegas odds: Milwaukee by 9.5
Game Prediction: Spurs by 5
For the Bucks’ fan’s perspective, check out Brew Hop.