In their final game of the homestand, the Bucks knocked off the San Antonio Spurs with ease, 130-94.
The Bucks had absolutely zero problems getting things started in this one. They’d flirt with double-digit leads throughout the quarter. Down the stretch, San Antonio closed in a bit, but still lacked control. Milwaukee found themselves with a 33-28 lead going into the second quarter.
San Antonio wouldn’t back off in the second. In fact, they were staying level with Milwaukee — until the final couple of minutes. The Bucks would unleash a ferocious 15-2 run that was capped off by a Joe Ingles corner three, slinging the Bucks in front by 15 points at the break, 66-51. Talk about flipping a switch.
Milwaukee picked up right where they left off in the second half. Before you knew it, they blew things open to a 20+ point advantage. When the third quarter wrapped up, the Bucks sat in front with ease, 100-72.
There wasn’t left for the Bucks to do before they earned the victory. Bud would pull the starters midway through the third, pushing things across the finish line with a 130-94 win.
Giannis Antetokounmpo served as the leading scorer in this contest, wrapping up his night with a 31 point, 14 rebound, and two assist performance. Khris Middleton and Bobby Portis both poured in 19 apiece.
It was a low scoring night for San Antonio. Their leading scorer was Devin Vassell, who corralled just 16 points.
The Bucks now head out on a four-game road trip which begins in Utah on Friday night.
The Bucks stopped playing with their food.
As the first half unfolded, it became more and more clear that the Spurs were actually sticking around with the Bucks. Milwaukee had numerous chances to gain separation, but failed to do so — until the closing minutes of the second quarter. From there, they broke off a 15-2 run to end the half. It gave them all the confidence they needed to go through the motions of dusting things off in the third and fourth quarter, which they did with ease. In his postgame presser, Bud attributed San Antonio’s ability to keep it close to their guys making shots while the Bucks missed some easy ones. We’ve seen this Bucks team play down to their competition at times, but last night, they didn’t stoop down and rather flipped a switch to turn the ship around and embark on smooth sailing towards the win.
Khris Middleton continued his groove.
Following his burst of five threes against Toronto on Sunday, Khris Middleton didn’t match that output — but he was still effective. As I mentioned above, his 19 points served as the second most on the night (along with Bobby Portis’ 19). Coming into last night, he was averaging 22.3 points, seven assists, and four rebounds. It truly seems that he’s settling back into his typical self, which is huge for Milwaukee as the playoffs loom ahead. Last night, Khris Middleton notched his fourth double-double — but this was with assists. Here’s what Mike Budenholzer had to say about it in his postgame availability:
“His assist rate is really high. He’s just a great decision maker. He’s got the size and vision and makes all the right reads. You’re lucky to have a guy — Jrue, Giannis, lots of guys that can have the ball in their hands and make decisions and have a high assist night. But you know, Khris has been doing that a lot for us recently.”
Joe Ingles has also been on a tear as of late.
It was another night where Joe Ingles rattled off a pattern of threes, as he tallied four on the night. He’d finish with 14 points off the pine, which continues to aid this Bucks team in a major way. It’s taken him a little bit to find his groove, but he’s definitely found it now. When asked about what he’s seeing as of late, here’s how he answered:
Joe Ingles has been shooting over 50% from three this month. When asked about what's been working for him, he shined a light on things he's learned throughout his comeback from his injury: pic.twitter.com/N669UA8EsK— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) March 23, 2023
Looking ahead, things will likely be emotional for Ingles on Friday when he makes his return to Utah. It’ll be his first game back there not as a member of the Jazz. As for how he will feel? He doesn’t even really know:
Joe Ingles will make his return to Utah on Friday night. It's a place that was not just he and his family's home for eight years, but their introduction to the NBA and America. Here are some of his thoughts on how he's approaching it (he did rule out a Joe Ingles revenge game). pic.twitter.com/LnxiyYJ7mj— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) March 23, 2023
Bonus Bucks Bits
- Sandro Mamukelashvili made his return to Milwaukee last night. He was greeted with a loud ovation from the crowd. His old teammates were quite happy to see him:
Sandro and Khris are quite happy to see each other. pic.twitter.com/ha1dALZ2bM— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) March 22, 2023
His new coach is quite appreciative of him as well:
Sandro Mamukelashvili has found a new home in San Antonio. Here's what Gregg Popovich had to say about him.— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) March 22, 2023
"After about a week, I learned what his name was." pic.twitter.com/vtQBaWOn6y
Last, I asked Giannis for his thoughts on Mamu:
Sandro Mamukelashvili made his return to Milwaukee tonight. I asked Giannis what it was like to see him again and go up against him. Here's his thoughts on Mamu's new journey in the NBA: pic.twitter.com/8joeiXh4gv— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) March 23, 2023
- The Bucks did have some trouble with turnovers, especially in the first half. They’d end the night with 15 of them. That still will remain something Bud will want them to clean up.
- Additionally, Milwaukee went just 13-of-24 from the free throw line. Not too pretty. They’ll look to clean things up in Utah on Friday.
- There was a funny moment in Giannis’ postgame availability. He thought the team was going on just a two-game road trip when they’re really going on a four-game road trip. He said he needs to pack more clothes now.
- Last night marked the NBA-high 39th time this season that the Bucks have held their opponent to less than 45% shooting, as San Antonio shot just 38.7% on the night. Milwaukee is now 36-3 in those 39 games this season.
- Gregg Popovich pressers are always a joy. Sometimes he’ll give you a hilarious one-liner, then other times he’ll provide an extremely insightful response. We got both of those last night:
Gregg Popovich on what he remembers about coaching against Giannis early in his career: "Nothing. I didn't even know who the hell he was."— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) March 22, 2023
Gregg Popovich was asked what stood out to him about Mike Budenholzer and what told him he could lead a championship team of his own.— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) March 22, 2023
A great response from Pop: pic.twitter.com/zlF5GPZhF7
- There was a special PA announcer last night for the Bucks’ lineups — Kolin from Special Olympics...and he did AMAZING!
- Last, Thanasis made his return to the team last night. Here’s what Giannis had to say regarding that in his postgame availability: