Jan 10, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; Milwaukee Bucks small forward Michael Beasley (9) shoots the ball as San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Danny Green (14, right) defends during the second half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
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Even without Giannis Antetokounmpo for most of the game, the Milwaukee Bucks beat the San Antonio Spurs in their building for the first time since 2008 on Tuesday.
Most people who know or know of Giannis Antetokounmpo probably knew this anyway, but the illness that kept him out of the Milwaukee Bucks game against the Washington Wizards was very real, and not a tricky attempt at resting the Greek Freak for a game.
Giannis was still sick on Tuesday night, and despite his best effort he was unable to make many contributions to Milwaukee’s effort against the San Antonio Spurs. Even without Giannis, the Bucks found a way to win.
There were a few heroes on Tuesday, and we’ll get to and grade all of them eventually. This sticks out as a great team effort from the jump. Winning without Giannis will never be easy for the Bucks from here on out, because he brings so much to the team every night he’s out there.
Every win without him comes down to a lot of players working hard on both ends and staying resilient throughout the game. That was certainly the case on Tuesday, as Milwaukee trailed for most of the second half before taking a late lead.
Now it’s time to find out which players in specific deserve the most credit for the Bucks big win. It was definitely a team effort, but one in particular was the bee’s knees against the Spurs.
Jan 10, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; Milwaukee Bucks power forward Jabari Parker (12) drives to the basket as San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Danny Green (14), and Tony Parker (9), and Jonathon Simmons (17, left) look on during the second half at AT&T Center. The Bucks won 109-107. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Malcolm Brogdon is not giving Matthew Dellavedova a chance to take his starting point guard job back. Brogdon is playing like an elite starter right now, and he continued that against the Spurs by dropping 17 points, six rebounds, six assists and a block with just one turnover. Brogdon is the starter and the finisher, and he hit some shots late in the game that helped the Bucks come away with a victory. Brogdon hit five of 11 shots from the field and missed just two of his five attempted threes. The President’s term is just getting started in Milwaukee.
Most nights, Tony Snell is going to be kind of quiet. That’s just who is he. Tuesday was one of those nights. Snell scored eight points on an efficient six shots, and he made two of his five threes. Although he’s been a strong rebounder this season, Snell only pulled down one board against San Antonio. Some more of those would’ve helped–the Bucks got out-rebounded hard by the Spurs. Snell also added three assists and a steal to the Bucks effort, though.
Jabari Parker was a slight touch worse against the Spurs than he was against the Wizards, some of that definitely having to do with Kawhi Leonard being around. Still, not even Kawhi and the stranglehold defense of the Spurs could stop Jabari. He made nine of his 16 shots en route to a 22 point outing Jabari said was his best since the win over the Golden State Warriors last year. He also pulled down seven rebounds and recorded three assists and a steal. As has been the usual for Jabari he avoided costly mistakes with the ball–although he did get up to five personal fouls, Jabari did not record a turnover.
Usually a player getting nine minutes and zero points in a start would get a harsh grade, but Giannis was definitely not truly ready to play in this game. Props to him for trying and for recording two rebounds, two assists and a block in his brief playing time, but this was hardly a real game from Giannis.
Although it wasn’t a completely stellar performance, John Henson did some good things in the game against San Antonio. Henson managed six points and six rebounds, and he also dished three assists in his 17 minutes of play. It can be tough for Henson to get going lately, now that Greg Monroe is getting the lion’s share of the minutes at center. Still, Henson did well in a limited look today.
Jan 10, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; Milwaukee Bucks small forward Michael Beasley (9) shoots the ball as San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16, left) defends during the second half at AT&T Center. The Bucks won 109-107. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Another day, another really solid Greg Monroe performance coming off the bench. Moose has been great this season and that didn’t change on Tuesday. Monroe notched 14 points, nine rebounds and four assists against San Antonio, showing he can score, rebound and assist his teammates from the post. The stain on Monroe’s last game was the turnovers–he coughed the ball up three times against the Spurs. Still, Monroe’s steady scoring and rebounding are impressive, and he should be getting some talk about Sixth Man of the Year consideration.
In Matthew Dellavedova’s second game back from his injury, he still was very quiet. It can be hard to stand out as a point guard on the Bucks with Brogdon doing what he’s doing right now, but Delly wasn’t able to even come close to what the rookie did on Tuesday. He recorded four points on five shots and dished five assists, plus two steals and two rebounds. Delly and Brogdon shared some minutes in this game, and it seemed like Brogdon was the one who got the lead guard duties in that look. That will be something to keep an eye on going forward in Milwaukee.
Jason Terry had a vintage Jason Terry performance on Tuesday, scoring exactly three points on one made three-pointer. JET also managed an assist, two steals and a block. He leaped up and showed he’s still got some athleticism and fuel left, denying the Spurs an alley-ooo look in the fourth quarter. Now that he’s shown he can get that high, it’s time for Terry to dunk in game like Richard Jefferson did back on Christmas. Also, Terry brought his usual excitement and energy to the team.
If you thought his game on Sunday was good, Michael Beasley‘s performance on Tuesday night was even better. Beasley led the Bucks in scoring with 28 points, and he also added five rebounds, four assists, two steals, three blocks and four turnovers. Beas was everywhere with Giannis forced to sit down, and he sort of played like a destitute man’s Greek Freak. Beasley kept going against San Antonio’s defense by himself in the second half, and somehow he kept scoring. When the Spurs finally looked like they had stopped him, he dished the ball out to Brogdon for a massive three. Take a step back and think: Milwaukee got Beasley in a straight-up trade for Tyler Ennis. Ennis’ career high is 15 points. Not too bad of a deal for the Bucks, that one was.
After a very quiet game against the Wizards, Teletovic got just five minutes against the Spurs. He took and missed one shot, and committed a personal foul. That’s it. One might think with Giannis basically out all the Bucks forwards would get more minutes, but the combination of Brogdon and Delly both getting minutes plus Beasley going supernova didn’t leave much chance for Teletovic to play. Having too many bench players is a much better problem than not having enough of them, at least.
Three points, one shot, two points. That’s Miles Plumlee‘s game in just six words. Here’s his season in one: disappointing. Plumlee was meant to be Milwaukee’s ideal starter, but now it seems like Jason Kidd is trying to get him going, but the second he does something wrong he’s done for the night. That’s rough, but there’s not much that can be done.
Real Thon Maker minutes! Thon got a chance to play in a game that wasn’t in garbage time, and he was helpful! Thon made both of his shots in 13 minutes of playing time, and he also dished an assist. He finished with five points. It’s too early to expect this to be a nightly thing–if Giannis or Teletovic played more, there would’ve been no room for this Thon run. Still, Bucks fans will take what they can get from the 10th overall pick at this point.
Jan 10, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd reacts during the first half against the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
It’s kind of savage, to use a term used far too often these days, but Jason Kidd loves riding the hot hand and not messing around with the cold one. Mirza isn’t looking good in his five minutes? He’s done for the night. Michael Beasley is unstoppable? Let’s see what happens if he plays the entire second half. He was smart to sit Giannis down and to let Jabari run, even with five fouls and about seven minutes left. Kidd takes chances, and it makes for fun basketball to watch.
Jan 10, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) steals the ball from Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard Malcolm Brogdon (13) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs did not seem entirely like their normal selves. San Antonio let the Bucks score a lot without Giannis, and somehow couldn’t find a way to slow down Michael Beasley. It felt like Kawhi should’ve been switched onto him, but San Antonio was resolute in letting Danny Green try to guard him, and it just never worked. Manu Ginobili almost won the game anyway, but his last-minute three-point attempt got denied by the backboard. The Spurs can play better than this, although now both games against them have been close contests the Bucks were in at the end.