The San Antonio Spurs return home finding themselves on a three-game losing streak. After losing a close game to the Memphis Grizzlies, they’ll welcome one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference to the Frost Bank Center. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks will come to town for their second matchup with the Silver and Black this season. They’ll be doing so on the second game of a back-to-back, after a loss to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.
In the last matchup with Milwaukee, the Spurs were missing victor Wembanyama, and lost to the Bucks 132-119. Damian Lillard went off for 40 points in the game, hitting 7 of his 12 three-point shots. While Wembanyama is still on a minutes restriction, adding the star rookie will undoubtedly help the Spurs chances against the Bucks. This will be the first of many interesting duels between Wembanyama and Antetokounmpo.
San Antonio Spurs (5-28) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (24-10)
January 4, 2024 | 6:30 PM CT
Watch: TNT | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)
Spurs Injuries: Charles Bassey – Out (left knee,) Sidy Cissoko – Out (G League,) Zach Collins – Out (right ankle,) David Duke Jr. – Out (G League,) Malaki Branham – Doubtful (right ankle,) Mamadi Diakite – Questionable (G League,) Dominick Barlow – Questionable (G League,) Doug McDermott – Out (right forearm)
Bucks Injuries: Do not need to report injuries until 1 p.m. CT
What to watch for
Wembanyama vs. Antetokounmpo
A freak meets an alien. No I’m not talking about the plot of Alien vs. Predator, but the matchup between Wembanyama and Antetokounmpo. While it would make more sense for Wemby to get the Brook Lopez assignment and vice versa, I can’t help but get excited for the rookie to square up with the Bucks’ star.
Antetokounmpo provides an interesting clash to Wembanyama’s game, being a more physically dominant player who can go through the rookie’s slender frame. Wembanyama hasn’t shied away from contact in his rookie season. A block or dunk on the greek freak would set the internet on fire.
Defending the three
San Antonio looked much better defending the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night. They’ve been gradually improving on that end since moving Wembanyama to center, but still struggle to defend the perimeter. The Bucks nailed 18 three in the first game against the Spurs. Milwaukee is 6th in the NBA in three-point percentage. If the Spurs hope to slow down with the Bucks offensive attack, they’ll have to contain them on the perimeter.
A new starting five?
Malaki Branham turned his ankle in Memphis on Tuesday night, and is doubtful for the contest against the Bucks. With Branham sidelines, Gregg Popovich started Tre Jones with the first five in the second half. If Branham does sit out Thursday’s contest, could Jones make his first start of the NBA season? He’s been effective next to Wembanyama and Vassell. Thursday night may be the longest we see those three play together so far this season.