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Lonnie Walker’s career night not enough as Spurs fall to Bucks

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San Antonio ends their 5 game road trip with a hard-fought loss against a top 5 team in the league, losing 120-113.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

After the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, I called this Bucks game a ‘free hit’. Underdogs going in, not expected to win, so a loss doesn’t do too much, but a win would be a statement to the rest of the league. The guys definitely played this game as a free hit as they played with a relaxed effort and took shots without fear of a Pop rant. This especially applied to Lonnie Walker who had the hot hand all night and looked as confident as ever shooting the ball for his career high 31 points.

The Spurs went into the game as 11 point underdogs, partly because Dejounte Murray and Patty Mills were out for rest purposes. This pushed Lonnie Walker IV into the starting 5 next to Derrick White. It was also the debut of PJ Tucker for the Bucks who the Spurs know all about from his time with division rivals Houston.

Coming off a back to back the Spurs came out surprisingly well, shooting the ball with confidence and running with pace. The opening was back and forth and the Spurs certainly seemed on the level of the Bucks as at the first timeout they found themselves up 1. With Murray and Mills sitting tonight, Tre Jones got the backup PG role and came into the game in the first quarter for the first time in his career. The Spurs ended the frame on a little run which included a very rare 3 pointer from Drew Eubanks and then another one from the same spot by veteran Rudy Gay. Spurs up 7; 33-26.

The second quarter started even better than the first for San Antonio, they went on a 9-2 run to extend the lead over double digits to 13. This is where it all went wrong for the Silver & Black, the Bucks counted with a 15-0 run of their own which included buckets from former Spur Bryn ‘Sparty’ Forbes. The Spurs struggled the rest of the quarter getting any consistency on offense and their misery was only deepened when Jrue Holiday hit a buzzer beater 3 to end the half to put the Bucks up 7.

The Spurs came out in the second half with more urgency and concertation as good defense led to some easy transition points. This was the Lonnie Walker quarter as he had 13 points including 3 3-pointers to keep the Spurs alive. The teams traded buckets down the stretch and the Spurs even momentarily took the lead from a DeRozan floater but just like last quarter Jrue Holiday made a play at the buzzer as he got fouled on a three-point attempt and hit all of his free throws.

San Antonio entered the final quarter of their 5 game road trip down 4 points to one of the best teams in the league and Keldon was trying to do everything he could to extend their win streak as he had 8 early points to keep the Spurs within touching distance. Unfortunately for the Spurs they don’t have a Giannis Antetokounmpo, as the Greek Freak showed off his playmaking skills midway through the frame to put the Bucks back up by 9. Lonnie once again showed his outstanding shot making as he kept the Spurs afloat hitting tough shot after tough shot and he probably should have demanded the ball more from his teammates in the clutch. Sadly, for Lonnie and the Spurs their hopes were well and truly gashed after a Giannis three point shot that pushed the lead to double figure. That’s all they wrote for San Antonio’s 5 game road trip as a valiant effort isn’t enough as they fall to the Bucks; 120-113.

Game Notes

  • The Spurs are the best team in the league in 2nd quarters as they have the best +- differential. Tonight though was a completely different story. They lost the quarter by 14 and only scored a season low 17 points in the frame.
  • Lonnie ‘Sky Walking’ ‘Shot Making’ Walker. A career night for Lonnie as he beats his previous career high of 28 which he got last year in that crazy comeback against the Rockets as tonight he goes for 31 points. Lonnie had 5 threes, 6 rebounds and a couple of steals to go along on his career night. This is also the first time anyone in our ‘young core’ (DJ,KJ,Derrick,Jak,Tre,Luka,Devin) have scored over 30. Derrick did do it once but that was in a playoff game as White’s regular season high is 26.
  • Talking about the aforementioned Derrick White, he is in a shooting slump right now. In his last 7 games he has had only 1 performance where he shot over 50 percent. Tonight was particularly bad as he was 3/14 from the field and a woeful 0/8 from 3. I’m sure this is just a blimp for Derrick as he still has only played under 15 games this year, but something definitely worth monitoring going forward.
  • Welcome back Bryn. On Bryn’s first game against his former team the Spurs looked to target him on offense every time he was on the court, especially trying to get DeMar on him so DeRozan could go to work. But Bryn also did Bryn things as he had 10 points of his own including 2 threes.

Next game: Hornets on Monday, 7:30 PM CT on FSSW.

The Spurs start their longest home stand of their existence (9 games) as they face the up and down Charlotte Hornets. Spurs beat the team from North Carolina earlier in the season, it was actually the last game the Spurs played before their season was disrupted by Covid protocols. So Monday San Antonio will hope to win the season series against their eastern conference foes, 2-0.