The Spurs started its version of ‘Finals Week’ with a resounding blowout of the Bucks. After putting up a franchise-best 87 points in the first half, they had little difficulty putting the Eastern Conference contenders away. The Bucks’ win streak was halted at five. San Antonio’s bench picked up the starters with 52 points overall (+22 advantage over Milwaukee’s) and the team’s 3-point shooting reverted back to something better (17 for 29 = 59%).
Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton (23 points, 7 assists, and 5 assists) and Jrue Holiday (20 points and 6 assists) made up for a muted statline by Giannis Antetokounmpo (28 points and 4 assists).
San Antonio benefitted from standout efforts by DeMar DeRozan (23 points), Dejounte Murray (21 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds), Keldon Johnson (20 points and 7 rebounds), Rudy Gay (19 points and 5 rebounds), and Patty Mills (20 points), who paced seven players in double digits.
With this win and a Pelicans loss tonight, the Spurs move to 2.5 games ahead of 11th place New Orleans and 3.0 games ahead of idle 12th place Sacramento.
- It’s still pretty cool that Milwaukee and San Antonio tussled in the second highest scoring game in NBA history
- Former Spur Bryn Forbes was defended by Lonnie Walker IV in the first half. It is jarring to see what role players look like in different systems across the league. He was honored with a video tribute (apparently this is a thing for way more NBA players than I ever imagined). Bucks play-by-play Jim Paschke noted “Bryn’s smile is a window to his personality. With that smile you kinda feel he’s a good guy.”
- Keldon’s Kitchen: In the early part of the second half, Johnson confidently converted a difficult lay-up over and through Brook Lopez with Antetokounmpo closing fast behind him.
- Devin’s Deeds: Vassell’s form on his outside shooting from the wings and above the break looks more consistent and true.
- Sequence of the Game: All of it.
- That Lonnie Walker IV up-fake and dribble into a pull-up jumper looks like a legitimate weapon.
- Patty Mills connected on his five of his first seven attempts. That sound is all of us either going “Good on ya, Patty!” or “where has this been, mate?”
- Bucks analyst (and former Buciks small forward) Marques Johnson referred to Keldon Johnson, Dejounte Murray, and Derrick White as “The 29 Boys” for their shared draft pick number.
- Murray and Poeltl make for a burgeoning pick-and-roll battery.
- DeRozan flashed a smooth bank shot in the right post twice early in the first half - perhaps at Chip Engelland’s urging.
- Both teams shot the lights out and rocketed into double digits in the first three minutes of action. The flurry of scoring was encouraging for San Antonio as their makes were distributed among the starters. Khris Middleton generated 11 easy points in the first half of the period, but the Spurs passed the 30 point mark... with 5+ minutes remaining! Like an Oprah television audience, the basketball gods gifted nearly every player at least one field goal. After the onslaught of points, including six 3’s apiece, the Spurs left the quarter up 45-36.
- The Spurs bench buried their counterparts from distance including an eye-popping trio of threes each by Gay and Mills. After San Antonio went up by 18, Marques Johnson quipped that this game was starting to resemble the Boston game where they squandered THAT 32 point lead to lose at the end. RUH-ROH. Undeterred, the Spurs surpassed the 70-point mark with 5+ minutes left... in the half! Holiday and Middleton refused to relent to the persistent pressure and scored easily, as well. Johnson nearly fumbled away a transition opportunity, caught the ball about 30 feet from where he first started bobbling it, and still managed to put his team over 80 points with a layup. Forbes nailed two of his own threes, but the final tally heading into the break? SAN ANTONIO 87 Milwaukee 64.
- Milwaukee made its second-half run with Antetokounmpo and Holiday doing most of the damage around the rim. San Antonio countered with more sharing and shooting to keep the advantage around 20 - passing the century mark halfway through the frame. DeRozan briefly crumpled under a wall of Bucks defenders at one end and Antetokounmpo was rewarded with a lob in transition. His second straight lob and free throws by Brook Lopez closed the gap to 16. The Spurs seemed to hit a wall late in the quarter and Milwaukee made them pay quickly. Mills’ 3-point shooting was called ‘fake news’ by Paschke after yet another swish and his side-stepping three pushed the lead back to 20.
- A buzzer beating shot by Milwaukee late in the third was overturned. Jakob Poeltl picked up his first foul - in the fourth quarter. Though Forbes added some offense, he was filleted at the other end by his former teammates, Murray and Walker IV. A charge on Antetokounmpo was challenged and overturned - netting him an undeserved basket. Giannis further tried to take over the game in the post and on the baseline, but San Antonio’s wave of contributors overwhelmed his singular efforts.
- Milwaukee elected to save its starters for its own SEGABABA at home tomorrow night, and the Spurs enjoyed some well-deserved garbage time. Vassell further refined his pull-up jumpshot with three makes. Gorgui Dieng went end-to-end off of a steal for a Dieng-jam. Bobby Portis’s eyes continued to bulge intensely.
For the Bucks fan’s perspective, visit Brew Hoop.
San Antonio continues to criss-cross the country and faces Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday evening at 6:30 PM CT.