I know I like to say highlights can be found even in the worst games, but this one is pushing it. Although they got some starters back and weren’t quite the skeleton crew that was put forth the night before in New Orleans, the Spurs suffered a blowout loss for the second night in a row, this time at the hands of the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks, and highlights were admittedly hard to come by.
Overall, the Spurs shot just just 38.7% from the field, hitting just 9-39 from three after last week’s breakout, and the leading scorer was Devin Vassell with an inefficient 16 points. That being said, the biggest upside of the game was probably getting Jeremy Sochan back after he reaggravated a leg injury a few games ago, and while he had his hands full on defense with Giannis Antetokounmpo, he was efficient on offense everywhere inside the arc (0-5 from outside, 6-9 everywhere else) with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Hopefully this summer he can get fully healthy and work on taking that next step that everyone sees coming from him.
The best stretch of the game came late in the first and into the second quarter as the Spurs erased what had been a double-digit deficit to get back within two points before the Bucks went on a massive run, spanning both sides of halftime, to turn the game into extended garbage time. Perhaps not surprisingly, that Spurs run came when Vassell was at his best. If he can keep improving as his own shot creator, it will force defenses to focus more on him and open things up for everyone else.
The two newest Spurs continue to make the most of their playing time and a case to be brought back next season. Sandro Mamukelashvili and two-way player Julian Champagnie led a depleted Spurs bench with a combined 20 points and have been more than helpful for a second unit that has struggled to score all season (and it only gets harder when players like Doug McDermott and Devonte’ Graham have to sit). The Spurs continue to see find diamonds in other teams’ scraps.
Finally, steady and reliable as always, Keita Bates-Diop did what he always does and continued to play hard all night, even when the game was well out of hand.
And as always, the full game highlights.