At 10-1, the Bucks are rolling to start the year. Spearheaded by a physical defense that to this point ranks 1st in efficiency and the otherworldly talent of Giannis Antetokoumpo, Milwaukee has the look of a team that should make a deep run in this season’s playoffs. The strong play of Antetokoumpo, Jrue Holiday, as well as the return of Brook Lopez (who was hurt opening night last year and lost until the playoffs with a back injury) and some key vets have helped to stabilize a Milwaukee team that has yet to see Khris Middleton step on the court this season as he rehabs a wrist injury.
Meanwhile, it’s been a rough start to November after a surprising October for this young Spurs team. They’ve lost 5 in a row, all to teams that are expected to make the playoffs, but they’ve continued to be competitive mostly. “Pass-and-move” is at a premium with this team, in a way that Spurs fans havent really seem the last few years. A glowing quote from Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins in the aftermath of their OT game with the Spurs Wednesday night summed up nicely what a team faces when they play these Spurs:
Grizz head coach Taylor Jenkins on what it’s like for a team guarding the Spurs and then being defended by the Spurs this season: pic.twitter.com/IoBSNN1nH6— Paul Garcia (@PaulGarciaNBA) November 10, 2022
That’s pretty high praise for a team that has been projected to bottom out and be among the worst teams in the Association. That could still very well be the case come seasons end, but these Spurs seem intent on bringing the fight every night and playing the game the right way.
As far as tonight goes, things may actually break San Antonio’s way. Holiday will reportedly miss a 2nd straight game with an ankle sprain, while Antetokounmpo is listed as day-to-day with knee soreness and could possibly miss his 2nd straight game as well. If the Spurs can clamp down on Jevon Carter then, perhaps they’ll finally find themselves in the November win column.
San Antonio Spurs (5-7) vs Milwaukee Bucks (10-1)
November 11, 2022 | 7:00 PM CT
Watch: CW35 | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)
Spurs Injuries: Zach Collins (leg, OUT), Blake Wesley (knee, OUT)
Bucks Injuries: Jrue Holiday (ankle, day to day), Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee, day to day), Khris Middleton (wrist, OUT), AJ Green (nose, OUT), Pat Connaughton (calf, day to day), Joe Ingles (knee, OUT)
What to watch for
- Jevon Carter is coming off a career-high 36 points in Milwaukee’s short-handed double OT win over Oklahoma City Wednesday night. Carter is a defensive specialist that plays a role for this Bucks team, but with Holiday and Giannis out, Carter found himself with the hot hand and was able to carry them across the finish line in a road game they trailed heading into the 4th quarter.
- The Spurs pass and move offense has been so much fun to watch this year. It will be interesting seeing it in action against a Milwaukee team that’s been at the top of the league so far this season. Thankfully, forcing turnovers isn’t their strong suite, an area where San Antonio’s offense has run into trouble early on this season with so much passing and a bit of inexperience at work.
- After appearing in just 13 games last season due to a back injury, Brook Lopez appears to be all the way back. Through 11 games, he’s averaging almost 16 points and 7 rebounds a night against 49/36/78 shooting splits and is the anchor of this Bucks defense once the ball enters below the free throw line. Lopez, who scored 24 points in that win and 49 points combined in 2 games against OKC this week, hit a free throw that sent the game to the double OT session in which the Bucks ultimately prevailed.
- Coach Bud has a 4-4 record with Milwaukee in games against the Spurs and his mentor, Gregg Popovich. The teams split contests last season, with each road team winning. Bud is 6-12 all-time against San Antonio.
For the Bucks fan’s perspective, please visit BrewHoop.
If you’d like to, you may follow along with the game on our Twitter profile (@poundingtherock) or visit our Game Thread.