In what could very well go down as their most difficult game of the season on paper, the San Antonio Spurs (14-19) are in Milwaukee to take on a Bucks team that has started the season 31-5. The Bucks are 25-2 in their last 27 games and and 16-1 in their last 17 home games. To say Milwaukee is playing well would be an understatement.
The Spurs, on the other hand, have failed to hold any sort of momentum. The latest example was their 109-103 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder after winning their first two games of a three-game homestand.
The Bucks have the best record in the NBA, 2.5 games up on the Los Angeles Lakers and five games up on the Boston Celtics. The Spurs find themselves in a different type of race. They are the eighth seed in the Western Conference, 4.5 games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder and half a game up on the Portland Trail Blazers.
Dejounte Murray Not Playing
The Spurs will be without starting point guard Dejounte Murray. He is missing the game to what is being described as “personal reasons” by the franchise. Murray is expected to only miss one game.
On the season, the 23-year-old is averaging 10.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists. He’s shooting 48.8% from the floor and 79.3% from the free throw line. Thanks to some recent hot shooting, Murray also has his three-point percentage up to 30.8%.
Spurs and Bucks Play Again on Monday
As if playing the Bucks once isn’t difficult enough, the Spurs will face Milwaukee again on Monday night. That game, of course, will be played in San Antonio. However, the Spurs are sure to be heavy underdogs in both contests.
Spurs at Bucks – Key Matchup
Who will the Spurs use to defend Giannis Antetokounmpo? In the past, the Spurs have tried LaMarcus Aldridge on him — with varying levels of success. However, with Aldridge older and the Greek Freak better than ever, that would be very dangerous.
Most likely, the Spurs will start the game with Trey Lyles on Antetokounmpo, with Aldridge defending Brook Lopez. The Spurs could also start smaller and give someone like Rudy Gay the unenviable task of guarding the reigning NBA MVP.
Prediction: Spurs at Bucks
Oddsmakers believe the Bucks will win this game by eight points, 120-108. I’ll give the Spurs a bit more credit than that. Why? San Antonio has played up to their competition many nights this season — so this could be another such night.
Milwaukee Bucks – 118
San Antonio Spurs – 110