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Milwaukee vs. San Antonio: Remember the Alamo? Neither Do I.

The Bucks closed out their road trip with a 1-2 performance.

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NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at San Antonio Spurs Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

In the closing contest of their three-game road trip, the Milwaukee Bucks suffered a resounding loss at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs. The Bucks were (are?) missing many of their main contributors, including their three best players, meaning that the supporting cast had another game of getting the full feature treatment. That means that, while the game goes into the Loss category, there isn’t much more to truly take away from this one. We’ll give it a go anyway!

Three Things

Tonight, the “Jevon Carter: Lead Guard” experiment showed its downside. Although he established new career highs on Wednesday, tonight’s game demonstrated Carter’s room for growth in a role beyond the one he’ll have when the team is fully healthy. For every peak, there is a valley, and Carter had a rough outing despite his stat line (21 points and 6 assists, including 5-for-7 from three). It’s not that he played poorly, but that his offensive skill set isn’t capable of raising the team’s ceiling when he is playing such a significant role. Carter’s weaknesses on offense aren’t as big of an issue when surrounded by other high-usage players, but when your available colleagues on the perimeter are MarJon Beauchamp (-24 on the night, 8 points on 13 shots including 0-for-6 from deep) and Jordan Nwora (-28 tonight, 8 points on 13 shots), you’re gonna have a bad time. Still, the fact that Carter continues to make shots is an encouraging sign for his long-term viability on this team; if his jumper can keep falling at a high enough rate, there may yet be a place for him in Milwaukee’s full rotation.

Shameless plug for Brew Hoop alumni Eric Nehm’s piece on Brook Lopez’s shooting. In the third quarter, Lopez made back-to-back three point shots as a part of an 22-8 run. Splash Mountain’s shot turns out to have been tweaked heavily over the offseason, as we learned from Eric’s stellar piece that published this morning. Seriously, if you don’t subscribe to The Athletic, this piece is worth the price of admission on its own. On the court, this development is potentially the difference between a 2-5 night and a 4-8 one in the postseason, which would make a big difference to the Bucks’ Finals hopes.

Milwaukee lost the rebounding battle, which isn’t often the case. The Bucks have earned their reputation as a premier glass-cleaning squad, and Brook Lopez’s presence is a massive part of that equation. But with so many difference-makers missing, deep reserves like Sandro Mamukelashvili and Serge Ibaka were called upon for significant minutes at center, and they simply don’t provide the same sort of environment that Milwaukee usually enjoys from their bigs. While it was only a 2-rebound margin (56-58 for the Spurs), it felt like San Antonio exerted their control over the boards tonight.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • A good – nay, great – friend of mine in Austin took his son to the game tonight. Apparently their association with me led to the development of Bucks fandom, something I think we can all agree is a good thing and what the world needs more of. The hope all along was that they’d get a chance to not just see a Bucks game, but to witness Giannis Antetokounmpo in-person…making the Greek Freak’s absence sting even more than usual. So, fellas, all I want to say is…
  • Absences aside, the Bucks are one of the more popular NBA tickets these days. It used to be the case that Milwaukee was an easy game to grab a seat or two, but the surge in recent success has come with a natural increase in demand. But hey, at least this group is easy to root for…and easy to get an autograph from.
  • MarJon Beauchamp pulled off a nifty turnaround jumper on the baseline mid-way through the first quarter. Positively Khris-esque, and a lone bright spot in what was another rough outing for the rookie.
  • Grayson Allen was a late scratch with a non-COVID illness. So late, the Bucks had to have Jordan Nwora jump off the bench right before tip-off as Allen moved to the locker room.
  • Yes, that means the Bucks were missing six rotation-level players tonight: Allen, Giannis, Khris, Jrue, Pat, and Joe Ingles. If you were jonesing for some George Hill-Serge Ibaka pick-and-roll sets, this game hit the spot for you.
  • In the third quarter, Jordan Nwora showed off his playmaking(?!) chops with a savvy pass to Bobby Portis for a dunk, followed up by a baseline alley oop to Brook Lopez. It was as fun as it was meaningless!
  • With all due respect to DJ Shawna at Fiserv Forum, the in-house DJ in San Antonio was punctuating Spurs possessions with excellent selections of hip-hop instrumentals. Despite the Bucks’ struggles, the music made the game a bit more palatable.
  • From our own Van Fayaz in the group chat: “Jeremy Sochan’s hair ain’t it.” I couldn’t agree more, Van.
  • This has nothing to do with the Bucks or the NBA, but Twitter has been…going through some things lately. Some of it is troubling, some of it is a larger symptom of the perpetual online-ness of modern society, but some of it is flat-out hilarious. I present to you, without comment, this post about a New York Times article chronicling the sh*t-show that is social media this week:

What an age we live in.

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