Why have the Spurs always had trouble with the Bucks, who since the late 80s, seem to have been an also-ran kind of a team? I have no idea. But it seems like a team can get confidence against another team, regardless of who is in the jersey, and strange things happen.
1. Sustenance & Song: No sustenance or song today. Sorry. Have some soup.
2. Key Match Up: Monta Ellis vs. ?
Without Danny Green or Kawhi Leonard or Patrick Mills, I have no idea who is going to guard anyone in this game. The most likely suspect to stick with Ellis is Tony, mostly because he is the only one left. But since that may wear Tony for scoring, which the team will need, I can also see Pop using Cory Joseph a fair amount, assuming he’s not in Austin. What we do know is this: Monta Ellis can fill up a hoop and if he is on and we don’t have a group of defenders to throw at him, this may be a tough game to win.
3. Keeping An Eye On: The Bench
I’m still a bit shocked that with all of the injuries, all of the line-up shaking, and all of the bench shuffling, the Spurs are 14-4. But this is a game where the Bench – meaning those guys on the end of the bench who go into each game wondering if they’ll get significant minutes – will have to contribute for the Spurs to win. I don’t expect a 65+ point performance from Tony and Tim.
4. Bold Prediction: A Close Game
Let’s call it Spurs 99, Bucks 95, just for grins. I expect the Bucks will have chances to tie or lead late in the game, but those Ellis or Jennings step-backs won’t fall as easily after 40 minutes of work.
Odds and Ends
This is the beginning of a significant stretch of games for the boys in black, with 5 games in the next eight nights, including another string of 4-in-5. The teams don’t look nearly as bad as the last stretch either, with Charlotte being the only doinker on the bill. Will Pop sit some folks again? America waits patiently. Or not.