Bucks keep Spurs winless on the road

If I told you the San Antonio Spurs would shoot 60% in a game, have six players score in double figures, and score over 100 points, you’d think it’s a SJwin right?

Wrong.

The Spurs lost their fourth straight road game of the season as the Milwaukee Bucks defeated them in a nail-biter 106-103 on Tuesday night. Former Spur Stephen Jackson led the charge for the Bucks with 34 points while the two healthy members of the “Big 3” looked like their vintage selves as Tony Parker finished with 22 points and eight assists, and Tim Duncan finished with 20 points and eight rebounds.

Duncan and Parker came out scoring in the first quarter as they had combined for 20 of the Spurs’ 33 points in the quarter. Duncan started the game by shooting 6-of-6 before missing a shot. T.J. Ford went down toward the end of the first quarter and never returned to the game after being diagnosed with a strained left hamstring. The Spurs led 33-25 after the first quarter.

The Bucks got hot in the second quarter as they scored 34 points while the Spurs also poured in 26 points. At halftime, both teams were tied at 59, Jackson had already scored half (17 points) of his points, while Parker had a strong half with 15 points.

Carlos Delfino started the third quarter with a surge as he provided the Bucks with eight points in the quarter. The Spurs’ defense finally held the Bucks to 20 points in the quarter, while their offense wasn’t as efficient with 22 points. The Spurs went into the final period with a narrow lead, 81-79.

The fourth quarter was a battle until Milwaukee was able to go on a run and get a seven-point lead late in the quarter. The Spurs went on their own 8-2 run to close the Bucks’ gap to one point, but then disaster struck.

The Bucks missed a shot and the Spurs had a chance to take the lead. Parker tried to dribble past Brandon Jennings, Jennings tipped the ball and Parker lost control. Jackson picked up the loose ball and fed Jennings for the wide-open layup. The Spurs’ 16th turnover of the game couldn’t have come at a worst time with 51 seconds remaining.

The Spurs did what they could to make a comeback but on the last play, the offense rushed the possession as no timeout was called to get a set play inbounds. Instead, Parker rushed the ball up the floor, stopped his dribble, and passed it to a well-defended Richard Jefferson. Jefferson hoisted a desperation three and missed.

With the loss, the Spurs move to 6-4 on the season. They’ve lost all four of their road games and will look to keep their undefeated home streak alive as they face the Houston Rockets on Wednesday in another back-to-back game at the AT&T Center. The Rockets also played on Tuesday night as they defeated the Charlotte Bobcats 82-70 in Charlotte.

Analyzing the Loss

  • No practice sessions being available in this shortened season is really showing its effects of the Spurs’ defense. Too many times, players are caught missing rotations, or defending the wrong assignment. The numbers don’t lie either as the Bucks torched the Spurs’ defense with a 34-point second quarter, and 27-point fourth quarter. Not to mention, the Bucks shot 52% from the field in the game.
  • Though the Spurs shot well from the field (60%), one major part of their offense that was missing was the three point shot. The Spurs only made four of their 14 three point attempts. The three point shot was only worth 12% of their offense; outside shooting is one of the strengths of this perimeter shooting team.
  • One woe the Spurs have seen on the road is the amount of turnovers. There were 16 in the Milwaukee game but the worst one was the last one when the team could have taken the lead, instead Milwaukee scored their final points with the free points.
  • Parker finally looked a little bit more aggressive as he attempted 18 shots in the game, he connected on 10 of them and there were a bit more shots in the paint as opposed to the outside jumpers he’s been shooting this season.
  • Jefferson had a solid game with 12 points, but the Spurs really needed two big three’s from him in the fourth quarter that didn’t fall. He shot 3-of-7 in the game from distance.
  • In the loss, Jefferson, Duncan, Parker, and Leonard all logged over 30 minutes of playing time. This will be something to watch for Wednesday as the Spurs face the Rockets.

KLRookie Watch

Danny Green only saw six minutes of action while James Anderson only logged nine minutes in the game. Why? Rookie Kawhi Leonard had a career high 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting alongside three rebounds and four steals, plus one block. Leonard showcased a multitude of ways he is able to score. He hit outside jumpers, made a floater, finished on the fastbreak, and even dunked the ball by cutting behind the defense. He was the only player off of the bench to play 33 minutes in the game.

Paul Garcia

About Paul Garcia

Paul is a San Antonio Spurs credentialed media member for Project Spurs. He covered the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in Houston, TX, and the 2013 and 2014 NBA Finals. Paul has been featured on WOAI, Fox 29, and numerous nationwide radio shows.

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