Antetokounmpo’s 26 points, 15 assists lead Bucks past Spurs for sixth straight win
MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 26 points and a season-high 15 assists, and the two-time league MVP received plenty of help as the Milwaukee Bucks beat the San Antonio Spurs 120-113 on Saturday night.
The Bucks (27-14) won their season-best sixth straight game with seven players scoring in double figures. Khris Middleton scored 23 points and Jrue Holiday added 21. Antetokounmpo grabbed eight rebounds, barely missing a triple-double.
Lonnie Walker scored a career-high 31 points for the Spurs (22-17), and DeMar DeRozan added 22. Walker sank 13 of 21 shots, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range.
The Spurs trailed 98-94 after a jumper by Walker following a San Antonio timeout. Middleton responded with a 3-pointer and Pat Connaughton scored a layup off an assist by Antetokounmpo, forcing a quick Spurs timeout.
Two more 3-pointers by Middleton in the final 5 1/2 minutes helped the Bucks pull away, and Antetokounmpo added a powerful dunk and a 3-pointer.
Donte DiVincenzo had 12 points and a team-high 13 rebounds for Milwaukee, which won for the 11th time in 12 games. Brook Lopez and Connaughton each had 11 points and former Spurs guard Bryn Forbes added 10.
The Bucks rallied from a 14-point, first-half deficit and even used some zone defense to try to slow down the Spurs.
“To start off the game, I thought they hit every floater, every mid-range shot that they took,” Middleton said. “After a while we started switching a little bit more, trying to be up a little more to take that shot away and also to take away the drive.
“Giannis and Jrue did a great job of getting into the guards and making it tough on them.”
The Spurs ended a five-game trip with a 3-2 record and coach Gregg Popovich was not discouraged by the loss.
“This is the fifth game in seven nights,” Popovich said. “A couple of important guys didn’t play, but it doesn’t matter. They all come to compete.
“We had 29 assists tonight against a hell of a team. We’re thrilled with the way we played. We just have to keep the consistency.”
Holiday was fouled by Devin Vassell on a 3-point attempt with five-tenths of a second left in the third quarter, and Holiday made all three free throws to give the Bucks an 88-84 lead. Thee Bucks guard also sank a 3-pointer in the final second of the first half to extend Milwaukee’s lead to seven points at that time.
“It was definitely a boost to be able to go into the end of the quarter on a good note and see the ball go in the basket,” Holiday said. “I think it was huge.”
The Spurs’ strong start was keyed by DeRozan, who had eight points in the opening quarter as San Antonio took a 33-26 advantage.
Dejounte Murray and Patty Mills were held out of the lineup for rest as San Antonio played the second game of a back-to-back set and the finale of its road trip.
“It takes its toll,” Popovich said. “We just decided with this increased density in the schedule since the all-star break that we needed to help them stay in good shape. And we’ve been in constant contact with the league; they’ve been great about understanding the situation.”
P.J. Tucker made his Milwaukee debut after being acquired in a trade with Houston on Wednesday. The 35-year-old forward had not played since March 3 while waiting for the rebuilding Rockets to make a deal.
“You can see the intensity,” Middleton said. “He’s going to be a great fit for us.”