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San Antonio vs. Milwaukee, Final Score: Spurs overrun by Bucks’ opening surge, lose 119-132

After a comedy of unforced errors and poor execution did San Antonio in early on, Milwaukee emphatically answered every run San Antonio made after that

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Milwaukee Bucks
San Antonio was again unable to stay in front of Milwaukee offensive attack
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks (20-7) took advantage of a visibly disjointed San Antonio Spurs (4-22) team missing its star rookie with 62% shooting in the first quarter enroute to a relatively easy 132-119 home victory. In the process of securing the victorious result, Damian Lillard (40 points and 4 assists) became the 51st player in NBA history to surpass 20,000 points.

With Victor Wembanyama missing his second game of the season, San Antonio’s slack was picked up by Zach Collins (22 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks), Keldon Johnson (28 points and 12 rebounds), and Devin Vassell (17 points).

Bucks stars Giannis Antetokounmpo (11 points, 16 assists, and 14 rebounds), Lillard, and Khris Middelton (17 points and 4 assists) led an overpowering Bucks squad that piled up 72 points in the first half. They received a solid bench contribution from Bobby Portis (23 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 steals).

The first quarter saw Lillard and Portis outscore the Spurs squad by themselves 31-26. Milwaukee seemed set on making the game a track meet, while San Antonio seemed stuck in mud on both ends.

Johnson and Collins started to get warm from the field in the second quarter to make the game a little more respectable. San Antonio competed more capably in the third frame to cut into the Milwaukee advantage. However, each one of the Bucks’ big three, especially Lillard and Khris Middleton with their shooting and Giannis with his playmaking, took turns turning back any and all Spurs’ runs.

Observations

  • Best former Spurs that were also solid contributors on the Bucks? Terry Cummings, Alvin Robertson, Frank Brickowski.
  • Is Lillard capable of playing passable defense? It would seem to make sense for whomever he is guarding to try to make him pay at the other end.
  • It was really impressive to watch Jones continually attack the paint and rim amongst the Bucks’ trees.
  • When the Bucks make a free throw, jingle bell sounds go off. Maybe the Spurs could do a jingle-jangle .wav file.
  • Collins and Brook Lopez looks like a heavyweight match-up made for the 90s.
  • Devin’s Deeds: He made a really nice baseline cut in the second quarter to get himself a 3-point play. His movement off the ball is important, especially as he continues to get up fewer than expected shot attempts.
  • Keldon Johnson’s motor never stops.
  • Why can’t Giannis shoot threes?
  • Hustle Play of the Game: Partway through the second period, Collins, looking like he might commit a turnover, instead found a cutting Johnson through a thicket of arms for a tough layup.
  • After an opening Collins bucket, Milwaukee blitzed the Spurs on an 18-1 run. A Tre Jones layup and a Vassell transition dunk were the only bright spots in an otherwise difficult quarter to watch. One errant pass somehow eluded three Spurs’ defenders and found its way into the hands of Bobby Portis who swished a floater. Lillard poured in 19 points and Portis netted dozen with Bucks going up 44-26.
  • Johnson and Collins found better offensive footing in the second quarter, but the Spurs were not able to cut too much into the deficit. Antetokounmpo was hilariously called for a 10-second violation late in the half. San Antonio hit on over 60% of its shots after its horrid opening, but they only dug into the Bucks lead by three.
  • Building on their first half momentum, Collins’ three and Johnson’s putback brought the Bucks’ lead under double digits. Whether it was Antetokounmpo, Lillard, or Khris Middleton, each of them spearheaded a run to answer whatever San Antonio threw at them. Dominick Barlow got into the game late in the third.
  • An otherwise drama-free fourth quarter was interrupted when Sochan and Portis were tangled up on the sideline and had to be separated, which of course brought a song from ‘Frozen’ over the PA? A Branham wing three brought the Spurs within a dozen. After Portis cleared him away with the off-hand on a layup, Collins decked him at the other end. Most of the starters finished the game surprisingly. Despite the opening flurry of points by Milwaukee in the first, the Spurs were able to largely play even with them the rest of the way.

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

San Antonio takes on DeMar DeRozan and the Chicago Bulls Thursday night at 7:00 PM CDT.