It was a big day for the Milwaukee Bucks, who snagged a well-needed victory at home on a Sunday matinee over the visiting San Antonio Spurs, 106-103. The win marked a season sweep over the Popovich-led Spurs.
Ah, how refreshing that first quarter was! The starters finally began a game firing on all cylinders, storming out to a 27-15 lead. Calm, cool, collectiveness dictated the opening period and everybody seemed to be in their comfort zone.
Speaking of zones, the Spurs would revert to one in an effort to litigate the damage Milwaukee was inflicting — and it worked. San Antonio erased the Bucks’ double-digit first quarter lead and bounced back to knot everything up at 47 apiece when halftime rolled around.
That drive and ambition that Milwaukee came out with to begin the game made another appearance in the beginning of the third quarter. The starters once again propelled themselves to a double-digit lead and at the end of the period, the Bucks would find themselves with another double-digit lead at 88-75.
Though it’d get close in the end, the Bucks were able to stave off the Spurs, breaking their five-game winning streak at 106-103. It was a huge win for Milwaukee as they make the final turn of the corner towards the end of the season.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was the leading scorer for the Bucks, delivering home 25 points. Eric Bledsoe tallied 23 points of his own and Khris Middleton splashed in 19 points.
For San Antonio, LaMarcus Aldridge made his presence felt with a game-high 34 points. Pau Gasol was next in line with 22 points off the bench. No other Spur scored more than 13 points.
This is a team that can find success in the playoffs.
For the first time in a while, the Bucks finally had a game where a majority of the cards fell their way. Outside of the second and little bit of the fourth quarter, very high quality basketball was being played. Bledsoe was being aggressive on offense. Middleton was taking smart shots — and hitting them. Giannis was being himself, including connecting on a trio of 3-pointers. When you hear teams say that they’re scared of drawing the Bucks in the first round, nights like these are the reason why. As I’m typing this up, the Bucks are currently the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference and if everything goes our way, this performance will hopefully do them well in efforts to stay here.
What a start to the halves!
Ever since Jason Terry called out the Bucks’ starters at a recent shootaround, they had yet to figure out a culmination that fit the recipe. Well, last night that all changed. It was...refreshing, to say the least. No time was wasted in revving up the motor at the beginning of both halves, and you could tell it had its benefits. It set the tone for the bench after the first line was out there. It also set the tone for the rest of the game. I don’t know about any of you, but I had gotten the odd feeling that I knew the Bucks were going to win the game. I never felt as if they weren’t. I cannot honestly remember the last time that emotion has struck me, but I’ll take it.
Pau Gasol continues to be a Bucks killer.
In other news, water is wet. Pau Gasol looked as if he was still donning the red and black of the Bulls. Sure, he wasn’t the leading big man for San Antonio (LaMarcus Aldridge had 34 points), but 22 points off the bench is nothing to dismiss. It honestly feels that as long as Gasol is in the league, he’s going to provide the Bucks fits in some way, shape, or manner. It’s inevitable. He’s to the Bucks what Jay Bruce is to the Brewers (I might even go as far as saying he’s to the Bucks what Jack Wilson was to the Brewers — and that’s saying a lot).
Bonus Bucks Bits
- From the opening quarter through the majority of the game, the Bucks looked like a different team in terms of transitions. Early on, San Antonio was missing a number of shots, coupled with a plague of turnovers. The Bucks wasted no time in taking advantage, hustling flawlessly up the court numerous times. This is an area of the game where the Bucks should be good; they just haven’t really done so yet. This was very refreshing to see.
- It was evident that the Spurs needed to try something new after the first quarter, and that’s exactly what they did. Gregg Popovich ended up rolling out a 2-3 zone, and like you’d imagine, the Bucks were initially flustered. However, they weathered the storm during that 5-6 minute stretch and were able to rebound in the third quarter by making up lost ground.
- I wasn’t able to make it to Gregg Popovich’s pregame availability, but I still have to share his response to yesterday’s #MarchForOurLives rally. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out:
During his pregame availability today, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was asked for his thoughts on yesterday's #MarchForOurLives in Washington, D.C. Here is his full, three-minute response: pic.twitter.com/znQ16s169Q— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) March 25, 2018
- The Spurs are one of those teams that are just a pleasure to watch. I mean, there’s literally nothing you can do but tip your cap at the success they’ve achieved this century. As we all know, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are two of the key players in the formula. And alas, Manu was being Manu today:
Manu's passing angles are still so much fun.— Chris Herring (@Herring_NBA) March 25, 2018
Just the way he’s a captain on the offensive end never ceases to amaze me. The flow is incredible with him out on the floor. An absolute epitome of a floor general.
- As long as we’re discussing the Spurs’ success, I’ve literally looked at this for five minutes straight and still cannot believe it:
What. Just what.