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Milwaukee Bucks vs. San Antonio Spurs Preview: Giannis/Wemby Episode 1

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NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, the Milwaukee Bucks will be looking to right the ship, playing on the road against the San Antonio Spurs. This will be the second and final time that these cross-conference teams clash in the regular season.

Where We’re At

The Bucks sit at 24-10, and they enter Frost Bank Center licking their wounds after dropping back-to-back games for just the second time this season, with both losses against the Indiana Pacers. Both games saw the Bucks take leads into the locker room and get outscored by double digits in the second half. In their most recent showing, the Pacers commanded a scoring eruption of 47 points in the third quarter, which created an insurmountable lead for the exhausted Bucks. Despite the loss, the starters got their looks. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard had pretty typical outings, scoring 26 and 23 points, respectively. Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez also did their parts, combining for 35 points on a field goal percentage north of 50. If every offensive starter didn’t have a plus/minus in negative double digits, it might be hard to believe this team lost by 12 points. But this was the typical “great offense/unfathomably bad defense” game that has become far too common this season (especially against the Pacers), and it has me praying that we don’t meet the Pacers again in the summer.

The Spurs head into tonight with a homely 5-28 record, which can only be achieved by a level of commitment to sucking that very few teams can match (sorry, Detroit and Washington). This undesirable ranking was primarily achieved by a horrific 18-game losing streak that saw the team go more than five weeks without a single win. Even in such unfortunate circumstances, the people of San Antonio can see the light at the end of the tunnel. With rookie phenom Victor Wembanyama at the helm and showing signs of positive development, the Spurs believe their days as a bottom-feeder are numbered. Still, don’t let that forward-facing optimism cloud their current situation; the team taking the floor against the Bucks tonight is very bad. Wemby leads the team in scoring, averaging nearly 19 points and 10 rebounds. Veterans Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson have also averaged around 18 points per game, but those numbers are rarely indicative of competitive basketball, as the Spurs routinely lose by 20+ points.

The teams met for the first time last month, with the Bucks filling the stat sheet en route to a 132-119 victory. Wemby was sidelined with a sore right ankle in that matchup, so this will be Giannis and Dame’s first encounter with the talented youngster.

Injury Report

Bucks’ guard AJ Green missed Wednesday’s game with a nasal fracture, and he is considered day-to-day heading into Thursday. Jae Crowder remains out, as he continues to rehabilitate following a surgery to repair a left adductor and abdominal tear.

For the Spurs, Malaki Branham is listed as doubtful to play with an ankle injury. Zach Collins is out with an ankle injury, and Charles Bassey is out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL.

Player to Watch

How can I not say Wembanyama? With all that height and hardly any muscle mass, it will be interesting to see how he handles the freight train we know as Giannis. This game has massive “posterizing” potential for the rook. Jeremy Sochan will probably be quick to help inside when Giannis starts driving (as he should), but that backcourt will still have its work cut out for it.

How to Watch

TNT at 6:30 PM (Central)


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