The Milwaukee Bucks played the San Antonio Spurs tough for about 30 minutes during the first head-to-head meeting on Dec. 5, but the Spurs put the Bucks to rest with a 36-13 run to close out a 110-99 win. San Antonio is riding a six-game winning streak at the moment, and Kawhi Leonard is back in the lineup after missing the first matchup against Milwaukee.
Ersan Ilyasova capitalized on a defensive scheme that allowed him to shoot uncontested jumpers in the first matchup -- Ersan scored all 17 of his points in the first half -- but he struggled to make an impact when Popovich instructed his bigs to close out on pick-and-pop looks in the second half. Frank recently noted that Ersan should be primed to take back more minutes in the rotation, so here's yet another chance for Ilyasova to make his mark.
Over at Pounding The Rock, the staff expects the second matchup to follow the blueprint established on Dec. 5:
"...the Bucks seem to always play the Spurs well, they hold the best record against San Antonio in the Tim Duncan era excepting the Lakers. The Spurs have been rolling on both ends of the court, however, and it's worth noting that the current starting five of Tony Parker, Danny Green,Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan, and Tiago Splitter has so far outscored opponents by a margin of 50. Per 48 minutes, it roughly translates into a margin of 30+, which was the final margin of victory against the Nets. I expect a defensive game with the Spurs pulling away due to their superior execution on the offensive end of the court."
Let's hope the FSN-Wisconsin crew doesn't spend time trying to justify Monta Ellis' claim that he's on the same level as Dwyane Wade. Then again, it might be fun to comment on it in this thread if they take a shot at it...
Steve's Song of the Day: