SAN ANTONIO — Guard DeMar DeRozan has said the Spurs can beat anybody in the NBA when they play well. He's probably right.
The Silver and Black have set an impressive pace in March, winning their first four games of the month and beating three of the best teams in the NBA.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 29 points and 15 rebounds, DeRozan scored 28 points and the Spurs overcame a 15-point deficit to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 121-114 Sunday night at the AT&T Center.
The Spurs continued their trend of beating the league's best teams since returning from their dismal rodeo road trip. Milwaukee (50-17) leads the Eastern Conference and has the best record in the NBA.
San Antonio downed Oklahoma City 116-102 on March 2, and Denver 104-103 last Monday. Denver is No. 2 in the West and OKC was third when it lost to the Spurs. The Silver and Black also have beaten the East's No. 2 and No. 3 teams, Toronto and Philadelphia, in San Antonio this season.
The Silver and Black (38-29) won their fifth straight, matching their longest winning streak of the season. The victory avenged a 135-129 loss to the Bucks on Nov. 24 in Milwaukee.
"It was a great test for us," DeRozan said. "One of the best teams in our league, on our home floor. Started off kind of rough, but we kept at it. Pulling out this win was big."
Asked what beating Milwaukee, OKC and Denver says about the Spurs, DeRozan said: "We can beat anybody in this league. We always show up for the big tests. We've just got to be consistent with that, understanding when when we go on the road, let's continue to do the same thing.
"Continue to be consistent and we've got to treat everybody who we play like they're the No. 1 and No. 2 speed, so we can give our best, pull out wins."
The Bucks got off to a strong start despite playing on the second night of a back-to-back. When Khris Middleton nailed a three-pointer to give Milwaukee a 21-6 lead with 5:20 left in the opening quarter, the Spurs looked like the team playing for a second straight night.
But the Silver and Black fought back and built a 15-point lead of their own in the fourth quarter.
"We're thrilled to get the win," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. We caught a break. It was a back-to-back for them. They had to fly down here after a game last night, but we all go through that. It did help us, I think.
"We were pretty solid. It was a wonderful win, so we will just see if we can honor it by continuing to play well."
RELATED: GAME BLOG: Spurs top Bucks, 121-114
San Antonio plays at Dallas on Tuesday and opens a four-game home stand Friday against the New York Knicks. They also will host Portland (Saturday), Golden State (Monday, March 18) and Miami (Wednesday, March 20).
Marco Belinelli and Patty Mills each scored 16 points and Bryn Forbes finished with 12 to round out the Spurs' double-figure scoring. Belinelli knocked down 4 of 8 three-pointers and Mills was 4 of 7 from long distance.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 27 points and 13 rebounds, and Eric Bledsoe finished with 21 points.
"Credit to San Antonio," said Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, who was an assistant coach under Popovich when the Spurs won their first four championships. "They played great. A lot of different guys stepped up for them – starters and bench guys – so they executed and they moved well.
"I think the end of the first quarter, end of the second quarter, I just wish we were maybe better in those stretches. Maybe it could have given us a little bit of a cushion, but credit to San Antonio tonight."
Aldridge also was asked what beating three of the best teams in the league tis month says about the Spurs.
"When we come to play and we play the right way, try to focus on the keys, transition defense and things like that, we can play with anyone," Aldridge said. "There's a lot of time left. Still have to try to get better, but I think we've shown that the games we focus in, and we play good team defense, anything's possible."
The Silver and Black have 15 games left in the regular season, eight at home and seven on the road.
Trailing 60-54 at the half, the Spurs started the third quarter with a 13-4 run to take their first lead of the game (67-64) on a three-pointer by Aldridge with 8:41 left in the period. DeRozan assisted on the basket, driving to the paint and then finding a wide-open Aldridge in the corner.
DeRozan leads the league in assists on three-pointers.
"He's definitely one of the best at probing and getting to the rim and reading a defense when he's going in," Aldridge said. "He knows that they're going to collapse and overreact, so he's always trying to find a shooter."
The Silver and Black lost the lead and then regained it to go up 87-83 heading into the fourth quarter. San Antonio outscored Milwaukee 33-23 in the third period.
Down by 15 in the first quarter, the Spurs fought back to trail only 60-54 at the half. The Silver and Black closed the gap to one, 36-35, on a shot by Belinelli with 10:35 left in the first half, but the Bucks scored six unanswered points to give themselves some breathing room.
Milwaukee got the lead back up to 11 points twice before San Antonio scored the last five points of the half on two free throws by Mills and a three-pointer by Forbes.
The Spurs shot 49 percent (49-100) from the field for the game and hit 12 of 29 three-pointers (41.4 percent). Milwaukee shot 47.1 percent overall (41-87) and was 38.9 percent (14-36) from beyond the arc.
Aldridge and DeRozan scored 14 and 12 points, respectively, to lead the Spurs' first-half scoring. Aldridge had nine rebounds in the first two quarters.
The Silver and Black shot 42.3 percent (22-52) from the field and made 4 of 14 three-pointers in the first half.
Antetokounmpo and Bledsoe scored 14 points apiece to lead the Bucks in the first two quarters.
Milwaukee shot 48.9 percent overall (22-45) and 35 percent (7-20) from beyond the arc.
Milwaukee raced to a 15-point lead in the first quarter, but the Silver and Black fought back to close the gap to 32-25 at the end of the period.