It was an interesting first half on Wednesday night as the San Antonio Spurs kept pace with the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks for 22 minutes. Alas, the young Spurs (19-54) rather literally fumbled away the game the rest of the way. 15 first-half turnovers turned into 18 points for the Bucks (52-20) who never surrendered their early lead as San Antonio lost in Milwaukee 130-94.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was unstoppable, requiring just 23 minutes to compile his 31-point, 14-rebound double-double, both of which were game-highs. In fact, three Milwaukee players recorded double-doubles. Khris Middleton led all players with 10 assists to go with his 19 points. Sixth-Man of the Year candidate Bobby Portis pulled down 10 boards as he matched Middleton’s 19 points from the bench. Three other Bucks scored double-digits, and Pat Connaughton also had 10 rebounds. For the Spurs, Devin Vassell’s 16 points led the team, flanked closely by four others in double-figures.
Second-Quarter Collapse Derails Positive Start from the San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio’s youth movement has shown a lot of promise in flashes this season. That was on display Wednesday night as they managed to stick with the Bucks for most of the first half. Despite five turnovers in the first quarter of action, the Spurs trailed the Eastern Conference leaders by just five points. They continued to stay in the fight for approximately 12 more minutes before the wheels came off.
At 2:41 in the second quarter, it was just a two-point game with San Antonio trailing 51-49. What proceeded to happen from there was a collage of epic proportions. Four turnovers and an inability to rebound for the final 200 seconds of the frame saw Milwaukee go on a 15-2 run to end the half with a 66-51 lead. In a matter of minutes out of the break, the Bucks stretch their advantage to 21 and never looked back.
Aside from the foul trouble, the Spurs held their own defensively rather well against the home team throughout the game. Though Milwaukee shot better than 50 percent from the floor, it could’ve been worse. The worst perimeter defense in the league, San Antonio only saw the Bucks hit 34 percent from three-point range. They also held their own on the defensive glass admirably. As with Tuesday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans, the offensive struggles for the Spurs need to be figured out if they hope to end the season on a positive note. Hitting 38 percent of their shots isn’t going to give them a shot in any contest, no matter how few turnovers they commit.
Up Next – @ Wizards
There are just nine games left in the 2022-2023 season for San Antonio. Before the discussion surrounding the squad can move to May’s draft lottery, the focus has to be on the Washington Wizards on Friday night as the team travels to the nation’s capital. Washington (32-41) has lost its last four contests, including falling to the Denver Nuggets 118-104 at home on Wednesday.
Kristaps Porzingis and Deni Avdija led the Wizards’ offensive attack in that one, combining for 41 points as Kyle Kuzma and Bradley Beal were both out. Beal and Kuzma are two of the team’s leading scorers on the season alongside Porzingins. Their combination of size and experience will surely be a tough test for the Spurs. The game will be the third stop of San Antonio’s four-game road trip.
Check out the full box score at NBA.com.