by Eric Salinas
Jennings Kid Pretty Darn Good (Bucks' Engine)
1) Control Mr. Brandon Jennings: Spurs should make it a priority to hound Jennings hard and often, utilizing aggressive hedges via the combo of Parker and Hill on the pick-and-rolls (hard traps in the corners when Jennings goes off the pick towards the sideline; away from the middle). The hard hedges can (and should) occasionally turn into hard traps, which will consequently force the ball to less threatening playmakers as the shot-clock counts winds down. After all, anybody but Jennings with the ball as the clock is winding down is of benefit to the Spurs—Jennings' teammates just aren't all that capable of creating efficient offensive opportunities for themselves or others (with the slight exception to Maggette and Salmons as being respectable... nothing more). Should this circumstance play out often, the Bucks should be forced into tough contested shots more often than not. (Not like Drew Gooden isn't accustomed to that or anything.)
2) Box Out—Defensive Rebounding: Major emphasis on these two objectives. Bogut and Gooden are very active inside when the ball clangs off the rim. Keep Bogut and Gooden off the offensive glass and away from possible tip-in's or tip-out's. Spurs need to limit the Bucks to one shot per possession as much as possible.
3) Limit Turnovers: Spurs don't want to give the Bucks any free easy fast-break opportunities by turning the ball over. Spurs need to make this offensively challenged Bucks team beat their half-court defense. (Milwaukee is last in the league in points per game and field goal percentage; 91.96 PPG- 41% FG)
4) Con-Man-Corey a.k.a. Kevin Martin's Brother Separated at Birth: He hasn't been getting a lot of minutes, so it really isn't a big issue, but it is an issue that can't be ignored. Maggette has been notorious for drawing cheap fouls and living at the line. Whenever the con man gets touches and is isolated without a screen to help him, whoever is guarding him needs to first force him left (unless he is on the right side of the floor; you don't want to force him middle). This is where the weak-side interior defender needs to be alert and assertive in getting to the seal spot earlier than usual whenever Maggette puts the ball on the floor — when rotating from the weak-side, the better the early positioning is of the rotating interior defender, the less chance there is for a foul to be called as Maggette initiates contact in an effort to get to the line.
Con-Man-Corey in Pick-and-Rolls: If Maggette does receive a screen in the pick-and-roll, the on-ball defender must go under the screen and concern himself more with his ability to be a driver and wreak havoc in the paint — the Spurs need to make him beat them with his jump-shot.
5) See #1: Control the Bucks' Engine (Jennings)
6) Significant 3-Point Threats: Salmons, Jennings, Douglas-Roberts*
*small sample size
Insignificant 3-Point Threats: Dooling (with the exception of last night), Maggette (nothing new), IIyasova
The Spurs need to be aware and assertive when it comes to those significant three-point threats of the Bucks at all times. Salmons, Jennings and Douglas-Roberts are the only players having respectable seasons from long-distance — this should tell the Spurs where the defensive impetus lies when it comes to the three-point line: Jennings, Salmons and Douglas Roberts get the extra attention. Never should the Spurs run off Jennings or Salmons (or CDR) to contest a potential three or deep two-point shot from Dooling, Maggette or IIlyasova. This goes for transition defense as well. Make it a concerted effort to heavily contest Jennings, Salmons and CDR's three-point opportunities, even if it means giving the inferior shooters a free or slightly contested look.
All in All: The Bucks expended a lot of energy last night after overcoming a 20-point deficit against the beloved Dallas Mavericks. Instilled by Skiles' regime, the Bucks exhibited the type of heart and fight they had, as they earned a surprising victory in Dallas—ending the Mavericks winning streak at 12. If the Spurs just bring their energy, heart and hustle tomorrow night, the game should easily result in another 4th quarter demotion for the old and decrepit.
Prediction: Spurs 108 Bucks 89