The San Antonio Spurs are coming off a 116-110 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in their last outing. Keldon Johnson had the San Antonio Spurs' first 20-20 game since Tim Duncan accomplished the feat in 2013. He had a team-high 23 points and grabbed a career-best 21 boards to power the Spurs to victory.
Meanwhile, the surging Milwaukee Bucks are also coming off a victory in their last game, beating the Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia 76ers 109-105 in overtime on Wednesday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had a big outing, producing 32 points and 15 rebounds while dishing out five assists. The two-time MVP had to overcome a valiant defensive effort from Ben Simmons, who stifled him for much of the game until the Sixers star got into foul trouble.
Thus, an exciting contest could beckon when the San Antonio Spurs lock horns with the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.
Fixture - San Antonio Spurs vs Milwaukee Bucks | 2020-21 NBA Season
Date & Time - Saturday, March 20th, 9:00 PM ET (Sunday, 21st March, 6:30 AM IST)
Venue - Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
San Antonio Spurs Preview
The win against the Cleveland Cavaliers was their third on the bounce for the San Antonio Spurs and fourth in their last five games.
As the Spurs transition away from the LaMarcus Aldridge era, Popovich is increasingly handing over the reins to the younger players. But veterans DeMar DeRozan, Patty Mills and Rudy Gay are the ones keeping the Golden State Warriors ship steady.
The 22-16 San Antonio Spurs are seventh in the competitive Western Conference and will need to pile up the wins if they want to avoid complicating their playoff road. They may not score a lot (110.2 per game, 22nd in the league), but their defense is top-notch (110.1, eighth-best overall).
Against the Milwaukee Bucks, the San Antonio Spurs will have to tighten the screws defensively, as the Eastern Conference team are number two in the league in points scored (119.5) this campaign.
Key Player - DeMar DeRozan
On Friday, the San Antonio Spurs welcomed back DeMar DeRozan, who missed the last four games because of his father’s death.
The four-time All-Star didn’t miss a beat on his return, scoring 20 points in 36 minutes.
Without Aldridge providing a steady presence inside, DeRozan will be the team’s lone star.
He won’t be as burdened to carry the San Antonio Spurs’ offense, as there are different players to share the scoring responsibilities. Nonetheless, the 12-year veteran is as gifted a scorer as any, and he will be relied on to provide a consistent effort offensively.
This is his eighth consecutive season averaging 20 or more points. Aldridge is averaging 20.3 points per game but still hasn’t found any appreciation for his 3-point shooting. That isn’t likely to change any time soon, even if the Milwaukee Bucks give him the open three on Saturday.
San Antonio Spurs Predicted Lineup
G Dejounte Murray, G Derrick White, F DeMar DeRozan, F Keldon Johnson, C Jakob Poeltl.
Milwaukee Bucks Preview
The victory over the Sixers was the Milwaukee Bucks’ fifth straight win, keeping them within striking distance of the top record in the Eastern Conference. At 26-14, they are now just a half a game behind the Brooklyn Nets for second place and 1.5 behind the Philadelphia 76ers for first.
The Milwaukee Bucks haven't been dominant this campaign as they were the past two seasons. Nevertheless, after an unusual stretch when they lost five straight games, they have now won ten of their last 11.
Their defense is evolving and adapting, which they hope will carry them to the playoffs and possibly beyond. Since February 1, their defensive rating has been fourth in the league (108.2). Newly acquired PJ Tucker is expected to bolster the Milwaukee Bucks' defense and should play his first game for the franchise on Saturday.
Against the San Antonio Spurs, the Milwaukee Bucks will have the advantage of rest, as they haven’t played in two days while their opponents played the night before. Coach Mike Budenholzer might look to apply more defensive pressure, which could yield a few extra opportunities in the Milwaukee Bucks' favor.
Key Player - Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo is making a case to hoist the Maurice Podoloff Trophy for the third year in a row with his recent performances.
Over his past 11 games for the Milwaukee Bucks, the two-time MVP has averaged 31.9 points, 12.6 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.5 blocks per game. He’s also shooting 58.1% from the field, 34.2% from the three and 77.5% from the line during this period.
Most of these numbers are better than what he conjured in his last two campaigns.
As his game expands, Antetokounmpo is making it harder for his critics and voters to ignore him as a top-three candidate for the league’s most prestigious individual award.
Should the Milwaukee Bucks continue their winning ways and reclaim the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed, Antetokounmpo could be the first player to win the MVP award three straight times since Larry Bird did so from 1984 to 1986.
Without LaMarcus Aldridge in the San Antonio Spurs lineup, Antetokounmpo will have to contend with Jakob Poeltl’s defense inside. It won’t be a cakewalk, but the Milwaukee Bucks forward should be able to find ways to continue being dominant offensively.
Milwaukee Bucks Predicted Lineup
G Jrue Holiday, G Donte DiVincenzo, F Khris Middleton, F Giannis Antetokounmpo, C Brook Lopez.
Spurs vs Bucks Match Prediction
If the San Antonio Spurs hope to win this game, they might have to hoist up more threes than usual.
The Milwaukee Bucks' opponents have shot 37.4% from the three this season, which is 19th in the league. That’s higher than their own shooting percentage from beyond the arc, which is only 36.1% (17th overall).
But even if this isn’t the same Milwaukee Bucks team defensively as in season’s past, they are still in the top ten in defensive rating (109.3, 8th). Meanwhile, the San Antonio Spurs aren’t too shabby in that department either, as the four-time NBA champions are tenth in the league and have a defensive rating of 109.5.
Nevertheless, this face-off between the San Antonio Spurs and the Milwaukee Bucks looks almost even on paper, and an intriguing clash could ensue.
Overall, their records aren’t that far apart from each other, and the two teams are well-coached. The outcome of this game may eventually come down to which team has the better momentum and rest. And with the Milwaukee Bucks playing at home, all signs point to a loss for the San Antonio Spurs.