The Spurs' dynamic duo of LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan combined for 57 points and the Spurs turned on the jets in the second half for a strong win at home over the team with the NBA's best record.
San Antonio dug themselves a double-digit hole early, but outscored Milwaukee 33-22 in the third and held off a late surge in the fourth. Marco Belinelli played an important role off the bench, draining four buckets from behind the arc.
The Spurs struggled to guard Giannis Antetokounmpo (27 points, 13 rebounds) and Eric Bledsoe (21 points), but handled the rest of the Bucks well.
Spurs win 121-114.
Those tired legs might be a factor. The Bucks played last night in Milwaukee and arrived in San Antonio at about 5 a.m. Sunday. That could be their excuse for allowing the Spurs to go on a 6-0 run to start the fourth quarter. The lead ballooned to 10 for the Silver & Black. Giannis Antetokounmpo made a free throw for his 19th point, but he hasn't exploded tonight like he can.
Marco Belinelli has been a problem for the Bucks in the second half. This assist drew a timeout after the lead went back up to 10, then, a few minutes later, the Italian hit a three to make it 100-86, causing another timeout.
Some people call these kinds of shots "daggers." By any name, the Spurs fans love a shot that seems to clinch the game. This one from Bryn Forbes was stylish.
After three, the Spurs lead 87-83.
The Spurs needed a run in the third, and they did it. It started with the stars - DeRozan and Aldridge both had more than 20 points through three quarters. Forbes, Belinelli and Mills are all at 10 points each as the fourth begins.
The viral story of the third quarter was the brief stoppage for a bat that got loose in the AT&T Center. This isn't the first time this has happened.
At halftime, the Spurs trail 60-54.
After falling behind big early, the Spurs continue to battle back, but hadn't made much progress early in the second quarter. The first three minutes of the frame were a 10-10 tie and the Bucks are shooting and scoring at an elite pace.
Later on, the Spurs got it down to one (36-35) before a 6-0 Bucks run drew a San Antonio timeout.
DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge were the first two Spurs to reach double-digit scoring, but it's been a team effort to beat the strong Bucks defense.
All in all, to be down just 6 at the break is a victory for the Spurs, especially after the first five minutes of the game saw them down by 12.
After one, the Spurs trail 32-25.
The Bucks raced out to an 11-4 lead in the opening 5 minutes, thanks to a quick 9 points from point guard Eric Bledsoe. The Spurs were letting him get to the basket with ease.
The game was being played at a blistering pace early on, which probably favors the Bucks and their superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. But Derrick White can go coast-to-coast, too. So can DeMar DeRozan.
This is Pau Gasol's first game back in San Antonio after he parted ways with the Spurs. The team had a tribute video ready.
In the bigger picture, this game is just one of 82. After this one, there will still be 15 more regular-season games for the Spurs to try to keep their streak of consecutive playoff appearances going.
But this feels like a really important game. The Silver & Black have won four straight after a disastrous Rodeo road trip that marred their February. It’s been three days since San Antonio last played, a 111-104 win in Atlanta. Entering Sunday’s games, San Antonio sits half a game behind the LA Clippers for the seventh seed in the Western Conference.
The Spurs are starting to look more like a playoff lock, with a 3.5-game lead over the Sacramento Kings, who sit on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. A win against the Bucks would be huge for the Spurs, and this could be as good an opportunity as ever. The Bucks won yesterday in Milwaukee, but face a serious turnaround with travel. The Bucks won the previous meeting this season, 135-124, back in November.
Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. at the AT&T Center.