Opponent Insight: Milwaukee Bucks Q&A With Adam McGee
Mar 18, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) and center Boris Diaw (33) reacts in the fourth quarter during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center. The Spurs beat the Bucks 114-103. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Before tonights game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday Night, we caught up with our friends over at Behind The Buck Pass to discuss the action.
The Milwaukee Bucks are heading into the AT&T Center against a team in which they have not had much luck against. In their last eight meetings at the AT&T Center, the Bucks are winless.
On paper this game looks to be one the the Spurs will bounce back after their 89-92 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday. This could also be that game that they use to figure out areas in which they are struggling with, offense.
The Spurs cannot take the Bucks lightly though. Against the Denver Nuggets on Monday night, the Bucks played really well. They forced the Nuggets to turn the ball over which resulted in easy baskets.
Surely, they will be coming into this game with a lot on their minds. They want to show the Spurs that they in fact can play with one of the leagues bests.
Ahead of the action tonight, we spoke to Milwaukee Bucks Writer Adam McGee to find out what he feels the Bucks will need to do in order to come out of San Antonio with a win.
Adam writes about the Bucks over at Fansided’s Behind The Buck Pass. You can follow him on twitter at: @AdamMcGee11.
Lets dive into what he had to say about tonights game.
Next: What do Bucks need to do to avoid seven straight losses?
Nov 30, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Michael Carter-Williams (5) tries to convince the referees that the Bucks have possession of the ball during the game against the Denver Nuggets in the second quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Rehome: Milwaukee has dropped six straight games against the San Antonio Spurs. What will they need to do to avoid losing their seventh straight?
Adam McGee: They’re going to have to play dramatically better than they have done for quite a while. Milwaukee has been a dismal road team, but the general picture hasn’t been much better to be honest. After a solid start the Bucks have now only won two of their last eight games, and they have a lot of figuring out to do.
To avoid losing this one, they’ll need to continue to ramp up their defensive aggression, but they need to be smarter on both ends of the floor too. If they get into a shootout with the Spurs, they’ll lose. If they play too static offensively, they’ll lose.
The Bucks need to play to their strengths, move the ball a lot, look to make strong cuts to the basket off of that passing, and create opportunities for the likes of Giannis, Jabari and Monroe rather than looking for the individuals to force them.
Next: Does the scoring need to come from Jabari Parker?
Nov 30, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker (12) attempts a shot against Denver Nuggets forward Will Barton (5) and guard Jameer Nelson (1) in the fourth quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
MR: Jabari Parker scored a season-high 16 points against the Denver Nuggets on Monday. Do you think the scoring load will need to come from him or do you believe the whole team needs to contribute as they did against Denver?
AM: Jason Kidd has dropped Jabari to the bench for the last two games, so I’d be shocked if the scoring load falls on him. Parker has been playing very efficiently this season, but is still clearly feeling his way back from injury and generally hasn’t been aggressive enough to even allow himself to be a dominant scorer in most games.
The more active Jabari is, the better the Bucks will likely look, but I’d hope to see Greg Monroe continue to push to score inside, and hopefully we’ll see a return of a more active Giannis Antetokounmpo after a couple of passive performances.
Next: Will the Bucks defense need to do against Spurs?
Nov 30, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari (8) gets pressure from Milwaukee Bucks center Greg Monroe (15) and guard Khris Middleton (22) in the first quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
MR: Jason Kidd has mentioned that the defense is coming along way and that he has been really happy with what he has seen. The team forced 24 turnovers which resulted in 35 points for the Bucks. Do you think they will have this effect on a team that has had trouble turning the ball over themselves? What do you think needs to be done?
AM: The defense is a major issue, and one that I personally don’t feel is anywhere near resolved. The Bucks still rank 28th in defensive rating, and the two games where the defense has improved have come against a Denver team who have one of the league’s worst offenses, and a Charlotte team who lost Al Jefferson to injury for most of the game.
Kidd has changed the starting lineup in those games to include Jerryd Bayless and O.J. Mayo as he felt there was a need for greater communication that the veterans could provide. Neither are lockdown defenders by any means though, and if he runs with that lineup in San Antonio, there’s going to be some significant matchup advantages for the Spurs.
Using their long arms, Milwaukee could certainly force San Antonio into coughing the ball up. The Bucks are still a top ten team in terms of forcing opponent turnovers, but once again, this all depends on the intensity they bring.
Next: What do the Bucks need to do to take the crowd out?
Jun 15, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs fans celebrate during the game against the Miami Heat in game five of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
MR: Looking at the Bucks road record this season (2-7) and going into the AT&T Center where the Spurs are undefeated thus far (9-0), what will the Bucks need to do to take the crowd out of the game?
AM: The Bucks have absolutely no problem with tearing out of the blocks and racking up impressive first quarters. In fact, they’re third in the league in first quarter points averages and seventh in first quarter plus-minus.
The challenge won’t be quietening the crowd, it’ll more than likely be keeping them quiet. Expect the Bucks to come out pushing the pace, forcing turnovers and possibly throwing down some explosive fastbreak dunks early on.
At the same time, don’t be surprised to see that all change in the second, third and fourth quarters.
Next: What matchup is most important in this game?
Mar 18, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (14) drives for the basket against Milwaukee Bucks guard Khris Middleton (22) in the fourth quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Green scored 20 points to help the Spurs beat the Bucks 114-103. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
MR: What match-up do you feel will be the most important in this game?
AM: With the current uncertainty over which way the Bucks lineups will go, it’s tough to pinpoint who exactly will have to deal with him, but the answer is Kawhi Leonard against whoever Milwaukee puts guarding him.
The ideal option would be Giannis, who is perhaps one of the better matchups for Leonard in the entire NBA, but with San Antonio’s size up front, they’re likely going to be forced to put him on Aldridge. If Kidd runs with the lineup that picked up the win last time, that would leave Khris Middleton on Kawhi, which isn’t terrible by any means either.
My bigger concern would be over the freedom that Danny Green might be allowed if Middleton moves up. Personally, I’d love to see them go with a big frontcourt of John Henson and Monroe in this one, although it seems unlikely. That would allow Middleton to contain Green, Antetokounmpo on Leonard, and Henson as a specialist defender on Aldridge.
Next: What do the Bucks need to do to contain Leonard and Aldridge?
Nov 14, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) reacts after a shot during the second half against the Philadelphia 76ers at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
MR: Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge are the new 1-2 punch for the Spurs. Both are coming off of huge games against the Chicago Bulls where they saw their five game winning streak snapped. What will the Bucks have to do in order to subdue these two?
AM: Pray? The only way that the Bucks can hope to lessen the impact of that duo is by making adjustments. They need to see how the game unfolds, assess how their early matchups with those two guys are going, and then make the necessary adjustments.There’s a good chance that Aldridge and Leonard will get their points either way, but the key will be trying to prevent San Antonio’s other starters and bench unit from getting in on the act with them. That’s easier said than done.