The Bucks were simply outclassed in San Antonio Wednesday night. The Spurs didn't have the best night offensively as they shot just 41 percent from the field, but they shut down the Bucks on the defensive side of the ball and won the game 95-70.
Early in the third quarter, the Bucks were able to cut the gap to 50-44, but that was the closest the game would be the rest of the night as the Bucks ultimately ended the third quarter down by 21. Only one starter, Tyler Ennis, saw any action in the fourth quarter as the Bucks conceded that the game was over after three quarters.
On the night, both Khris Middleton (16 points) and Greg Monroe (14 points) were able to get into double digits. Beyond that, the best thing about Wednesday night's game is that it is over and the Bucks can move on to their next game in Detroit. Tip off on Friday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CST.
- Jerryd Bayless picked up a "DNP - Coach's Decision" tonight. Jim Paschke referenced the game Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out last season when talking about it. Ennis started in his place.
- Michael Carter-Williams entered with 7:05 left in the first quarter.
- Early in the game, LaMarcus Aldridge was tasked with covering Giannis Antetokounmpo and quickly got pulled by Spurs coach Greg Popovich as Antetokounmpo attacked Aldridge relentlessly early in the game. Antetokounmpo continued to attack in the first quarter, eventually creating this beauty.
Gorgeous Giannis Spin https://t.co/IxjdVo3HSr— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) December 3, 2015
- Rashad Vaughn entered the game in the first quarter and promptly got called for an offensive foul. He then hit a wide-open corner three. He also picked up three fouls in five minutes of game action in the first two quarters.
- New lineup alert! Bucks went with MCW-Ennis-Antetokounmpo-Parker-Henson for a few minutes in the second quarter.
- The Spurs went on a 15-1 run in the third quarter that essentially put the game away.
- I don't envy anyone attempting to guard Parker and Antetokounmpo streaking down the same side of the floor in transition.
- Good defenses will continue to treat Antetokounmpo like the Spurs did tonight. Spurs defenders covering Antetokounmpo essentially took the "LeBron James Finals approach" and did not leave the lane when Antetokounmpo touched the ball. He will have to start confidently shooting jumpers to get them to come back out and cover him. Tonight that didn't happen.
- Jabari Parker was quiet tonight with just seven points. Again, like I mentioned in Monday's recap, he currently reminds me of rookie year Antetokounmpo. He is good for at least one Vine-worthy moment each game, but not much more beyond that at this point.
- There are some really talented defensive players on this team. Unfortunately, they don't get to show off their skills because the Bucks' defensive system requires their players "to trust that if you get beat, somebody is going to be there for you." At this point, their less interested defenders are nowhere near where they need to be and thus, there is no trust, which ultimately means awful defense.
- The Spurs are the best defensive team in the league, so a lackluster performance from the offense wasn't exactly surprising tonight. But with that being said...
- The Bucks' offense is beyond vanilla.
It has somehow regressed from the very basic offense they ran last season. With very little player movement and less ball movement, the Bucks' offense has relied even more on the individual talents of their players, which worked early in the season because their offensive talents (Antetokounmpo, Middleton, Monroe, and Parker) are brilliant and they played some really bad teams. As opponents have improved, this strategy has become less effective. (22nd in offensive efficiency before Spurs game.)
- This offensive system can also be seen as a major reason behind the Bucks' third quarter struggles. In the first half (sometimes quarter, depending on the coach/team), defenses feel out the Bucks' offensive tendencies and figure out the best ways to defend Milwaukee. If the opponent has enough talent and the coaching staff has enough creative ideas, they will then implement a slightly changed defensive strategy that effectively brings the Bucks' offense to a halt. While most teams can lean on their offensive system when the defense makes second half adjustments, the Bucks instead lean on their talented offensive players, who are forced to work against better and more difficult defenses.