The San Antonio Spurs had a relatively easy contest against the Milwaukee Bucks in which two extremes of the NBA faced each other: the team with the worst record in the league visited one the best in the Western Conference.
As expected, the Spurs cruised towards a 110-82 win that was even more remarkable considering that the reserves had an increased role in the second half and that several players that are an established part of the rotation – like Tony Parker, Matt Bonner and Tiago Splitter – were all sidelined due to injuries.
And no player took a better advantage to that opportunity than big man Jeff Ayres, who has been slowly making a case to receive more minutes with his improved play in the last weeks.
The former Indiana Pacers’ forward only played 15 minutes but made his presence felt, scoring 13 points and adding six rebounds. Ayres showed tenacity down low and even shadowed the presence of Boris Diaw, who started at the middle but only scored four points with three assists and one rebound.
With Tiago Splitter sidelined, the Spurs definitively need a big man that can anchor the paint and while Diaw can give more offense on a consistent basis, it’s hard to overlook what Ayres has done in recent games.
Ayres seems to be the perfect complement for Tim Duncan and tonight’s performance was another example of his good play this year. With all the issues the Spurs have had in terms of frontcourt injuries this year, Ayres should start seeing a bigger role in Gregg Popovich’s rotation sooner rather than later.