The Milwaukee Bucks managed to pull through and snap the San Antonio Spurs’ six-game win streak with a 106-103 victory. Milwaukee raced out to a 27-15 lead after the first quarter, blowing past San Antonio multiple times before they had a chance to set their stout defense. The Spurs clawed back in the second after switching to a zone look that stymied the Bucks and entered halftime tied at 47. Milwaukee made another push in the third behind a big lineup with Middleton at SG and their running ways led to an 88-75 advantage after a Brandon Jennings buzzer beater three. The Bucks allowed San Antonio back into the game late in the fourth, but a DeJounte Murray 3-pointer fell way short at the end to cement the win.
San Antonio may not be their usual juggernaut selves, particularly on the road where they lost their fourth straight, but any win against a quality opponent is welcome for this Milwaukee team. The fact it came right before they start a four game Western Conference road trip gives them a bit of a kickstart as they prepare for a tough stretch with strong implications for their playoff seeding.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s return was as prototypical Giannis as could be. He helped out immensely when the Bucks were running in transition, his 3-point shot was falling and he didn’t attempt unnecessarily difficult shots on just 16 attempts for the game. His 25 points, ten rebounds and three assists alleviated the necessity for another (unlikely) big Bucks bench night.
Khris Middleton looked firmly in control all night, and while his 8 of 15 shooting numbers aren’t stellar, his night featured a nasty dunk in transition and many clutch midrangers and runners en route to 19 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. Eric Bledsoe followed through too with his efficient self, restraining himself from ill-fated 3-point jumpers and instead attacking San Antonio’s paint presence when Pau Gasol swapped in for Lamarcus Aldridge to notch 23 points and five assists.
Speaking of San Antonio’s twin towers, they were by far their best performers tonight. Aldridge ate Milwaukee up inside, ending the night with 34 points and seven rebounds. Gasol did his usual battering of the Bucks, finishing with 22 points and 13 rebounds while rampaging the offensive boards against Thon Maker.
Stat that Stood Out
25 Fast break points - San Antonio’s defense is second best in the league, a factor Milwaukee tried to eliminate by not allowing the Spurs to get set. The Bucks were looking to run, and they had their most offensive success when they were finding teammates in transition and creating offense before they were forced to run their stilted halfcourt sets. That resulted in an impressive 25 fast break points for the Bucks, aided by Giannis’ return. San Antonio, meanwhile, relied almost entirely on their typical offense with just two FB points.