6th Fan Blogger: Bucks vs Spurs - Jan. 2, 2013
It's a new year, but the Bucks opponent tonight is an old team that comes in with the swagger of the 3rd best record in the league – The San Antonio Spurs. This team is team is scary (on the road they have the best record at 12-6), along with their warm-up suits of all grey and black I can't think of a team more worthy of The Imperial March themed visitor's entrance they received. But if this team is the Emperor Palpatine of the NBA, the "well-liked" Heat would have to be Darth Vader and so tonight's question: Can our Bucks play the role of the NBA's Rebel Alliance and save the NBA from this obtusely complicated analogy?
That answer will follow in four parts, and wouldn't you know that the first part would start with a Monta Ellis two-point jump shot? This of course was followed by a Gerald Green three (if the hero wins too easily it wouldn't be a great drama and the NBA is where Greatness happens) but I had faith at the start that our team will be able to continue to hang with the big boys in the league. In order for Milwaukee to win tonight they were going to need to generate turnovers that could lead to quick transition points in an effort to tire out the "old" legs of San Antonio. Lucky for the Bucks Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings are in the top 15 in the league in steals and Larry Sanders is in the top 3 for Total Blocks, unlucky for the Bucks after the first period it was Milwaukee 7 Turnovers San Antonio 1. This was going to be more difficult than hitting a Womp Rat with a T-16 on Tatooine.
At the start of Q2 the score was San Antonio 33 Milwaukee 22. The Bucks needed to figure out another strategy and fast. Milwaukee was using a rotation of Big Men to tackle the three-headed Rancor that is Duncan, Splitter, and Diaw – and while Larry Sanders can do an astounding job of flummoxing the opposition when grabbing minutes he has that wonderful propensity to grab some fouls along with his share of time. This led to some early minutes for John Henson (currently avg. 9.7 min per game). Not a bad thing for our No. 1 pick to grab some court time – this is likely a tough assignment. Perhaps Skiles subscribes to the same mindset of another famous master perhaps in his mind you "Do or do not. There is no try." After the first half "The Muppet" (the nickname I just created for Henson on the fly) had 10 points – way above his young career average of 3.9 pts per game. But it was still not enough to outpace the Spurs and Tim Duncan's 20 first half points – Milwaukee trailed going into Q3 52 to SA's 69.
Midway through the halftime show (an entertainer that could balance himself with the best of anyone on top of a single stack of chairs) it dawned on me that tonight's viewing of Tim Duncan could be one of my last. If the admittedly great Spurs win big this year, Timmy may ride into the sunset and call it quits. Additionally there is also the possibility that Popovich pulls a Jedi Mind Trick on us all and leaves the stars at home to rest up on any given night. Either way, tonight was looking like a fitting showcase of San Antonio's quiet big man. Through the third period Timmy had 26pts 10 boards and the rest of my 2008 fantasy basketball squad was looking pretty legit in their own way (S. Jackson had 8, B. Diaw 9, M. Ginobili 12pts 4 assists, T. Parker 12pts 9 assists - I was still waiting on word of Jason Kapono's 3pt field goal %). But the Bucks were starting to climb back San Antonio 93 Milwaukee 81.
If Q3 was this game's Empire Strikes Back we needed Q4 to become The Return of Monta Ellis to Last Week's Form. Brandon Jennings was doing his best to carry the team, enterting Q4 he had 23 points and 5 assists. But as any nerd will tell you, one pilot on his own didn't blow up the Death Star – so who was going to be BJ3's Millennium Falcon? The Muppet did his part, (20pts 9 rebounds when it was all said and done), but he was still a padawan in the grand scheme of things. Mike Dunleavey Jr. contributed 19 pts but unfortunately tonight he was no Han Solo. Lastly, there was Ellis and Jennings. Try as they might (Ellis had 18pts 8 assists and Jennings gave 31pts 5 assists) it just wasn't enough to overcome the Spurs team that, quite plainly, came to play. San Antonio 117 Milwaukee 110.
Maybe Disney should see if they can get Popovich directing Episode VII tentatively titled "The Empire never went away, it just aged."