SAN ANTONIO – Long noted for their defense, the Spurs couldn’t stop the Milwaukee Bucks from scoring Tuesday night. In the end, the Bucks hit a 3-pointer and the Spurs missed two.
And that was the difference in Milwaukee’s 109-107 victory at the AT&T Center, which fell silent after a wide-open Manu Ginobili whiffed badly on a 3-pointer from the corner as time expired.
The Silver and Black (30-8) saw their nine-game home win streak end, while the young Bucks (19-18) hung tough to squeeze out a road victory against one of the NBA’s top teams.
The Spurs had a chance to win the game on the last possession, but Manu Ginobili missed badly on a 3-pointer from the corner as time expired.
“Well, we didn’t want the game to come down to who makes a shot at the end of the game,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “They made a three and we didn’t. The problem was that we didn’t guard very well.”
With rising Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo playing only nine minutes because he was ill, reserve forward Michael Beasley stepped up and scored a season-high 28 points to lead his team. Beasley hit 11 of 18 shots, including his only attempt from the 3-point line, and added five rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks.
“Obviously, Beasley was great,” Popovich said. “We never stopped him. But in general our defense was not up to par. They took advantage of it, and they did a great job offensively. We talked the whole second half, if we keep letting them score like that, we’re going to have a big problem because it’s going to come down to who makes a shot at the end, and that can always go other way.
“So, disappointed in our defense tonight, but Milwaukee was aggressive for 48 minutes, played hard, executed, did a great job.”
Jabari Parker also had an outstanding game for the Bucks, finishing with 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting and seven rebounds.
Milwaukee shot 52.4 percent (44/84) for the game, and was 52.6 percent (10/19) from the 3-point line. The Spurs shot 47.7 percent (42/88) and made 12 of 30 attempts from beyond the arc for 40 percent.
Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs’ scoring with 30 points, his ninth 30-point game of the season. Danny Green, Tony Parker and Jonathon Simmons each scored 14 points. Rookie Davis Bertans and David Lee, who subbed for LaMarcus Aldridge, rounded out the double-figure scoring with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Aldridge missed the game because of gastroenteritis.
As always, Ginobili made no excuses as he talked about his last shot.
“It was wide open. Terrible shot,” a somber Ginobili said. “But Kawhi made a great play. Very good play.”
Asked if he knew the shot was off as he let it fly, Ginobili said, “Yeah, yeah. Nothing to that. Terrible shot. A miss.”
Ginobili’s shot came after Bertans missed a 3-pointer with 10.9 seconds left, leaving the Bucks clinging to a 108-107 lead. Milwaukee guard Malcolm Brogdon was fouled on the subsequent possession and made one of two free throws with 6.7 seconds left.
After a timeout, the Spurs inbounded and Leonard drove through the center of the lane before pitching the ball to Ginobili, who was alone in the left corner. Ginobili’s shot didn’t come close, hitting the side of the backboard before the final buzzer sounded.
Beasley made two free throws to put Milwaukee up 105-101 with 2:14 left. But the Spurs stormed back with back-to-back 3-pointers by Bertans and Green to take a 107-105 lead with 1:20 remaining.
The Bucks went ahead for good when Brogdon buried a 3-pointer to make it 108-107 with 1:08 left. Pau Gasol couldn’t hit 16-foot jumper for the Spurs with 51.9 seconds remaining, but he came up with a big rebound after Beasley misfired on a 19-foot jumper with 26.8 seconds to go.
San Antonio called timeout with 15.2 seconds left. Bertans was wide open on his 3-point attempt, but the ball skipped across the rim.
Tied at 23 after one quarter, the game turned in the Spurs favor in the second period. They led by 13 (59-46) after Parker scored his fourth consecutive basket, but the Bucks scored the last seven points to cut the deficit to 59-53 at the half.
Here is a quarter-by-quarter breakdown of the Bucks' 109-107 win over the Spurs:
Final: Bucks 109, Spurs 107. Manu Ginobili misses badly on a wide-open 3-pointer as time expires.
Fourth quarter (6.7): Bucks 109, Spurs 107. Malcolm Brogdon hits one of two free throws to give Milwaukee a two-point lead.
Fourth quarter (1:20): Spurs 107, Bucks 105. David Bertans and Danny Green hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Silver and Black back on top.
Fourth quarter (2:56): Bucks 103, Spurs 101. Jabari Parker scores on a layup to give Milwaukee a two-point lead.
Fourth quarter (5:02): Spurs 100, Bucks 94. Kawhi Leonard completes a three-point play to give the Silver and Black a six point lead. Leonard now has 30 points, his ninth 30-point game of the season.
Fourth quarter (8:40): Spurs 95, Bucks 92. Jonathon Simmons has scored 14 points for the Silver and Black. Michael Beasley has scored a season-high 22 points for Milwaukee.
End of third quarter: Spurs 89, Bucks 83. Kawhi Leonard leads the Spurs with 25 points. Jabari Parker and Michael Beasley lead Milwaukee with 20 and 18 points, respectively.
Third quarter (2:46): Spurs 79, Bucks 75. Kawhi Leonard leads the Spurs with 25 points, followed by Jonathon Simmons (12), Danny Green (11), Tony Parker (10) and David Lee (10):
Third quarter (6:01): Spurs 71, Bucks 66. Kawhi Leonard leads the Silver and Black with 21 points. Danny Green has 11 points, and Tony Parker and David Lee have scored 10 apiece.
Halftime: Spurs 59, Bucks 53
First-half notes: The Spurs led by 13 (59-36) after Tony Parker scored his fourth basket in a row, but the Bucks ended the second quarter on a 7-0 run to cut S.A.'s lead to six at the half. Kawhi Green (16) and Parker (10) lead the scoring for the Silver and Black, who are playing without LeMarcus Aldridge (gastroenteritis). The Spurs shot 49 percent (24/49) from the field in the first half. They were 7 of 13 from the 3-point line. Leonard, Danny Green and Jonathon Simmons are all 2 for 2 from beyond the arc. After a 30-30 tie at the end of the first quarter, the Spurs outscored the Bucks 36-30 in the second. Jabari Parker and Malcolm Brogdon lead Milwaukee with 16 and 10 points, respectively. Rising star Giannis Antetokoumpo, who missed the Bucks' previous game with an illness, went scoreless in the first half. He went 0 for 3 from the field, and had two rebounds and two assists in 9 minutes. Milwaukee shots 48.8 percent (21/43) in the first half, including 55.6 percent (5/9) from long distance.
Second quarter (2:43): Spurs 55, Bucks 42. The Silver and Black are 7 of 13 from the 3-point line. Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Jonathon Simmons are each 2 for 2 from long distance.
Second quarter (6:15): Spurs 41, Bucks 33. The Silver and Black have hit 6 of 12 attempts from the 3-point line. Kawhi Leonard and Jonathon Simmons are both 2 of 2 from beyond the arc.
Second quarter (8:54): Spurs 36, Bucks 25. The Silver and Black have outscored the Bucks 13-2 in the second period. Kawhi Leonard leads the Spurs with 15 points.
End of first quarter: Bucks 23, Spurs 23. Jonathon Simmons leads the Silver and Black with five points. Kawhi Leonard and David Lee have four points each.
First quarter (3:52): Spurs 15, Bucks 14.
First quarter (6:33): Spurs 15, Bucks 7. Tony Parker scores on a give-and-go to put the Silver and Black by eight. Assist Gasol.
SPURS GAMEDAY: Silver and Black face big test against Bucks' 'Greek Freak'
Milwaukee Bucks (18-18) vs. Spurs (30-7)
Tipoff: 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, AT&T Center
Bucks’ last game: Lost to the Wizards 107-101, Sunday, Milwaukee
Spurs’ last game: Beat the Hornets 102-85, Saturday, AT&T Center
Season series: Spurs lead 1-0
Last meeting: Spurs 97, Bucks 96, Dec. 5, Milwaukee
Notable: Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (gastroenteritis) is out for Tuesday’s game.
SAN ANTONIO – His surname is a lot like his game on the basketball court. It stands out.
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo – his last name is pronounced “ah-deh-toh-KOON – boh,” – is a 6-foot-11 phenom who can play a variety of positions, including point guard. Nicknamed the “Greek Freak,” he has a 7-3 wingspan to go with his bountiful athletic skills.
Spurs point guard Tony Parker was asked after practice Monday to describe Antetokounmpo’s game in one word. He went with “complete.”
“He does a little bit of everything,” Parker said.
Born in Athens and the son of Nigerian immigrants, Antetokounmpo is a lock to play in his first All-Star game this season. Now 22, he played professionally in Greece for one season, in 2012-13, before he was selected by Milwaukee with the 15th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft.
San Antonio fans will have a chance to see Antetounmpo when the Spurs (30-7) host Milwaukee (18-18) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Silver and Black rallied from a 15-point deficit to edge the Bucks on Dec. 5 in Milwaukee. Antetokounmpo had 22 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
Antetokounmpo sat out the Bucks’ last game with an illness, but he is expected to play against the Spurs. Milwaukee, 5-5 in its last 10 games, hasn’t played since Sunday’s 107-101 loss to the Washington Wizards.
In his fourth season with the Bucks, Antetokounmpo is averaging 24 points, nine rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.9 steals and 2.1 blocks. No player in NBA history has ever averaged such a stat line over an entire season.
Parker and Spurs guard Danny Green had no trouble pronouncing Antetokounmpo’s last name when they were asked if they could.
“We have a lot of foreigners here, so we have to pronounce many different names throughout the years,” Green said. “A guy earns that respect, you try to learn to pronounce his name.”
Parker was asked what makes Antetokounmpo the player he is.
“Just the way they play, and I’m sure [Bucks head coach] Jason [Kidd] is pushing for that,” Parker said. “Does a little bit of everything, scoring, passing, blocks, steals. Reminds me a little bit of [Andrei] Kirilenko.”
The Spurs trailed by 15 in the third quarter before they hit another gear and squeezed out the victory in their first game against the Bucks on Dec. 5 in Milwaukee.
“They’re a good team,” Parker said. “They play great defense. They’re physical. They make it hard on you. I like the way they play. I think Jason is doing a great job, and I think they’re playing well.”
Parker said the Bucks’ length bothered the Spurs “for sure” in their first meeting, clogging up the passing lanes with their long reach. Besides Antetokounmpo, the Bucks have three other players with ample length – guard Jabari Parker (6-8), center Thon Maker (7-1) and forward John Henson (6-11).
“They try to push you to spots that you don’t want to be, create turnovers,” Parker said. “Like I said, they’ve been playing good D.”
As the Spurs’ lead man on offense, Parker faces the challenge of contending with Milwaukee’s length, especially when he drives into the paint.
“Every time you have players like that, you have to keep it in mind,” Parker said. “When you’re going to go in [the paint], they’re going to pack it in, and you know they have guys that can block your shot. You just have to be aware where your shooters are.”
Kawhi Leonard (21), LaMarcus Aldridge (18) and Pau Gasol (15) led the Spurs in scoring in their first meeting with the Bucks. Each added nine rebounds apiece.
The difference in the game was a goaltending call against Antetokounmpo on a shot by Aldridge with 21.2 seconds left. Milwaukee went without a basket the last 2:25.
After splitting their first eight home games this season, the Spurs are now 13-4 after winning nine in a row at the AT&T Center.
Next up for Spurs after Tuesday's game: vs. Los Angeles Lakers, Thursday, 7:30 p.m., AT&T Center
(© 2017 KENS)