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Game Preview: Milwaukee Bucks vs. San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs didn’t have to wait long this year to get a crack at their first SEGABABA as they welcome the the defending champion Bucks to San Antonio tonight.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at San Antonio Spurs Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

For the Spurs, there’s no time to rest on their laurels. A night after taking on the reigning MVP and championship hopeful Denver Nuggets in the Mile High City, they return home for their first SEGABABA of this young season when they welcome the reigning NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and their superstar, Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to the AT&T Center.

Milwaukee, who returned most of their roster after last year’s championship run, are coming off a blowout 135-97 loss to the Miami Heat Thursday night that felt more like a continuation of the preseason than a regular season game. The duo of Antetokounpo and Khris Middleton both logged fewer than 25 minutes and the Bucks were already without two starters, as both Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez were listed on the injury report as out with minor injuries. Holiday, who left Tuesday’s opener against the Brooklyn Nets in the first half with a heel contusion, was originally listed as probable for the Miami game but was a late scratch from the line-up by head coach Mike Budenholzer, while Lopez was sidelined with back soreness.

A win against the champs would do wonders for the confidence of this young group this early in the season. It would also be a phenomenal start to the week, as the schedule over the next 7 days features 3 games against the last 2 NBA champions and another against interstate rivals and 2021 playoff team the Dallas Mavericks.

San Antonio Spurs (1-1) vs Milwaukee Bucks (1-1)

October 23, 2021 | 7:30 PM CT

Watch: KENS| Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)

Spurs Injuries: Zach Collins (Out — Ankle), Devontae Cacok (Out — Not With Team)

Bucks Injuries: Bobby Portis (hamstring - OUT) Jrue Holiday (heel - probable) Brook Lopez (back - OUT), Semi Ojeleye (OUT)

What to watch for

  • Mike Budenholzer appeared to take a page out of Gregg Popovich’s handbook when he sat Lopez and Holiday against the Heat. Holiday had originally been listed as probable, but was given the night off anyway when it came time to tip-off. It’s a marathon, not a sprint and Bud knows this as well as anyone not named Pop. With that being said, it’s a fair bet that those two guys probably suit up tonight and the Milwaukee starting line-up is whole.
  • Speaking of Pop, the Spurs are on a road/home SEGABABA tonight, after coming in from mile-high Denver late last night no less. Keep an eye on how Pop manages the minutes of his young group, especially this early in the season where guys are still finding their legs and getting used to playing NBA basketball again.
  • There’s not much to say about Giannis Antetokounmpo that hasn’t already been said. The reigning Finals MVP had a huge game opening night against the Brooklyn Nets before struggling along with the rest of the available Bucks in the loss in Miami. San Antonio has a host of bodies to deploy against him, but Keldon Johnson appears primed to be the initial defender against the Greek Freak.
  • Milwaukee was among both the best offensive rebounding teams in the league last season and was the 2nd best rebounding team overall to just the Utah Jazz, grabbing 80% of available defensive rebounds a game while rebounding 23% of their own misses, marks that they seem poised to The Spurs will need to do all the little things that go into rebounding the basketball along with the required hustle if they want to limit Milwaukee’s 2nd chance opportunities.
  • The Bucks finally got over the hump last season and won the franchise’s first championship in 50 years, and with that breakthrough comes the inevitable target that those teams find on their back the following year. The Spurs may not have a better roster than the champs, but SEGABABA or not, these are the sort of games that guys typically get up for and the ones that could leave the champs scratching their heads at the end of it.

For the Bucks fan’s perspective, please visit Brew Hoop.

As always, the PtR Game Thread will be up 30 minutes before tip-off. You can also follow us on our Twitter account for live game commentary throughout the season!