With Brook Lopez out, Bucks’ backups are trying to figure out how to protect the rim

SAN ANTONIO, TX - OCTOBER  23:  Lonnie Walker #1 of the San Antonio Spurs drives against Thanasis Antetokounmpo #43 of the Milwaukee Bucks at AT&T Center on October 23, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
By Eric Nehm
Oct 25, 2021

SAN ANTONIO — As Dejounte Murray waited for the Spurs’ inbounds play to unfold in the first minute of the second half Saturday night, teammate Doug McDermott came free on his way to the near-side corner where Murray was initiating the team’s out-of-bounds play. Murray passed the ball to McDermott as he ran open toward the ball, but Bucks guard Jrue Holiday left Murray to keep McDermott from firing an open 3. McDermott quickly passed the ball back to Murray, who was uncovered with an empty baseline to drive to the basket.

Murray attacked but then saw Giannis Antetokounmpo coming from the middle of the floor to contest the shot. In order to keep Antetokounmpo from blocking his shot, Murray lofted his seven-foot floater to the top of the backboard. It came up well short. Spurs big man Jakob Poeltl corralled the rebound, and their offensive possession continued.

A few seconds later, Murray received the ball on the left wing and attacked the basket. After tossing up a floater on his last attempt, Murray attacked the rim with a bit more conviction. His shot was easily rejected by Antetokounmpo.

In the sequence, Antetokounmpo showed off both major types of rim protection.