San Antonio Spurs 109, Milwaukee Bucks 77: At least they went quick

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Barely three minutes into this one and the Spurs led the Bucks 9-0. And it was over. There was no point to anything after that, as San Antonio eventually went up by 13 and then 18, and this was only the first quarter. Milwaukee briefly cut the lead to 11 in the second quarter, but the Spurs pushed it up to 23 by halftime and never led by less than 20 in the second half. The final score was 109-77.

In a game such as this there is practically nothing to take away from it. It was never close nor was it exciting. The Spurs were simply trying to get through it as quickly as possible, spreading the minutes around and avoiding injury. I don’t quite know what the Bucks were doing, but I would imagine this was just one of 82 they wanted finish it what is shaping up to be a long, depressing season.

Unfortunately for us observers, games like this one are all too common in today’s NBA. With so many teams with an eye on tanking for better odds in the 2014 lottery and being a middle-of-the-road team the worst place to be, the result is a league with a few really good teams and a lot of terribly poor ones.

This is what leads us to games like Wednesday night’s.

I understand full well the allure of tanking and really, with the way the draft system is set up, incentivizing teams that aren’t going to make the playoffs to be as bad a possible, I can’t possibly blame them. But it hurts the NBA’s product. There’s a reason so many people say you don’t need to start watching the NBA until Christmas.

There is a bright spot to it all, although at this point in the season it’s a but a speck off in the distance. Once we get through this painfully long regular season, watching blowout after blowout with occasional good game sprinkled in, we’ll get to the playoffs. With the talent level so skewed in favor of the top teams, we will be treated to some competitive series in April, May and June. Teams like the Bucks and 76ers and Jazz will be gone, focused on the draft and leaving the actual basketball to the teams really making an effort to win this season.

Which is fantastic. When the most eyeballs are going to be on the NBA, that’s exactly what you want. The best basketball at the right time. It’s going to set up perfectly for the league. But for the rest of us, those of us who have been here since the last week of October and will be here until the end of June, it’s going to be hard to erase games like Wednesday night’s bloodbath from our memory and pretend it’s been like this all along.

Oh yeah, and Tim Duncan had 21 points, 16 rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

  • Bry

    This game was not an example of tanking. I happened to be at the game (the one time each year to see the Spurs in person in Wisconsin) and the Bucks started their five best players and simply got destroyed. Kohl insisted on NOT tanking this year, but the Bucks are so decimated by injury they just can’t function. Sanders, Pachulia, and Butler make up an entire injured starting front court and Neal’s out as well. They started Henson (coming off an excellent game) who looked to have a bright future until Duncan went into tilt-mode and annihilated the poor kid.There are plenty of teams in the NBA that can rightly be accused of tanking, but Milwaukee isn’t one of them (at least not yet).