The Spurs road blues continue. On Sunday they faced the Bucks in Milwaukee riding a six-game winning streak, but couldn’t keep it alive. They lost a hard-fought battle that came down to the wire, and dropped to 43-31 for the season.
The good guys shot just 29% from the field in the first quarter, digging themselves in a hole early. Fortunately, San Antonio was ready to fight its way out of it in the second quarter, with LaMarcus Aldridge leading the way. The Spurs finally tied the game at 32 after a 17-5 run to begin the second, including 11 straight, and went into the locker room tied at 47.
The elite defense we’ve seen from the Spurs in their recent win streak was nowhere to be found in Milwaukee. It cost them in the third quarter, as the Bucks dropped 41 on them in that frame on 64 percent shooting. Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge prevented the game from getting out of hand by combining to score 21 of San Antonio’s 28 points in the period.
Without playing particularly well on either end, the Spurs still managed to chip away at the Bucks’ lead in the final quarter. They even cut the deficit to three points after a Gasol putback with 35 seconds to go. Milwaukee couldn’t convert in the following possession, giving the Spurs a chance to steal the game. Unfortunately, Dejounte Murray missed on a pull-up three, preventing San Antonio from completing the comeback.
The winning streak ended at six for the Spurs, despite their efforts to keep it alive.
- The long, athletic Bucks core players killed the Spurs down the stretch. The trio of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Eric Beldsoe, and Khris Middleton combined for 66 off the Bucks’ 106 points.
- LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol combined for 56 points, with Aldridge having another great game with 34 points after a slow start. With the guards struggling, the big men had to step up and did exactly that.
- The Spurs owned the boards. Their ability to rebound their own misses was a huge reason why they managed to stay in this one. They turned 20 offensive rebounds into 25 second chance points.
- As mentioned, San Antonio gave up 41 points in the third quarter. That was ultimately why they lost. Not even a good fourth quarter could erase the lead they surrendered on a sloppy third period. Playing with the same intensity for a full 48 minutes remains a challenge.
- Pop could not have been happy with Dejounte Murray attempting a game-tying three, not only because he was about two feet short, but because he is 9-28 on the year from deep. In fact, you can actually see him in the background telling Murray to attack on the break, before the defense was set.
Dejounte clearly didn’t understand him and Pop didn’t call his last timeout to set up a potential game-tying three-pointer. Not the sharpest late-game execution, there.
Washington is on the slate Tuesday at 6 p.m. in D.C.