The San Antonio Spurs left Milwaukee Saturday night with a hard-earned victory over the defending NBA champions. Another solid defensive outing helped the road team come out with the win. San Antonio forced 19 turnovers and held the Bucks to just 93 points, the fourth-lowest total of the Mike Budenholzer era.
The Spurs grabbed a much-needed W after dropping their previous four contests. After a disappointing collapse against Dallas on Thursday, seeing the team lock in and bring the intensity on defense for 48 minutes was refreshing. Despite a less than optimal shooting night, there were several positive performances from the guys in silver and black. One was perhaps more surprising than the others.
San Antonio Spurs Stud: Thaddeus Young - 10 pts, 8 rebs, 3 asts
While Dejounte Murray had another wildly impressive night, the Spurs' newcomer deserves some recognition here. After not appearing in three of the Spurs' first five games, many were questioning whether Thaddeus Young would have a role on this team at all. In 16 minutes of playing time against Milwaukee, he certainly proved he is capable of being a valuable contributor going forward.
Young made more shots against the Bucks than he had attempted in his first two games as a Spur. He connected on 5-of-9 attempts from the field and grabbed eight boards - five of which came on the offensive end. He showed solid physicality as a defender and screener, as well as good court vision for a big. With six minutes remaining in the second quarter, he zipped a pass to a cutting Tre Jones for an easy lay-in.
Already known as a reliable defensive player, Young showed he hasn't lost a step in that department. With about 90 seconds remaining before halftime, Young picked off a Khris Middleton pass and eurostepped his way to the basket on the other end for the score. It's these kind of plays that make it seem likely he could be seeing more minutes at backup center.
San Antonio Spurs Dud: Lonnie Walker IV - 4 pts, 1/8 FG, 4 TOs
Consistency has been one area where Lonnie Walker could stand to improve. Just four nights ago, he sunk five threes and had 21 points on 70% shooting against the Lakers. Saturday night against Milwaukee, he shot 1-of-8 and finished with four points in 20 minutes of game action.
Part of the reason for his variability in production could be opponent defensive personnel. Since Doug McDermott went down with a knee injury, Walker has been inserted into the starting lineup. As a result, he's been guarded by better defenders the last two games.
It's understandable that some nights players just can't make shots. The Spurs only shot 7-of-31 from three against the Bucks as a team. But the more Lonnie can operate as a consistent shooting threat, the better off the Spurs will be offensively, and the more opportunities he'll open up for his teammates.