The last thing the San Antonio Spurs need right now is back-to-back games against the best team in the NBA, but that's the challenge ahead when they play the Milwaukee Bucks for the second time in three days, this time on Monday at home in the Alamo City.
The Bucks waylaid San Antonio on Saturday, winning 127-118 in Milwaukee after leading by as many as 19 points in the fourth quarter. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 32 points and Eric Bledsoe added 21 as the Bucks continued their record-breaking start to the season.
Khris Middleton poured in 20 points, Robin Lopez had 14, Ersan Ilyasova scored 11, and Brook Lopez contributed 10 points for the Bucks. Milwaukee has not lost to a team this year with a record below .500.
"We just kind of kept playing, stuck with it," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters after the game. "Played against a team that played really, really well tonight and able to get a 15-, 18-point cushion late -- it's a good win for us."
Antetokounmpo, who had made just 59.9 percent of his free throws going into the game, canned a season-best 15 shots on 18 attempts from the charity stripe, including his final 13.
"Sometimes when you don't make a lot of free throws and you're not making them in the game, guys avoid going to the free-throw line," Antetokounmpo said. "I'm going to go to the free-throw line, try to go 25 times. It doesn't really matter if they're going in or not going in. I'm just going to trust my technique."
Milwaukee scored 100 or more points for the 61st consecutive game, tying a mark set by Houston during the 2016-17 campaign.
DeMar DeRozan led the Spurs with 26 points while LaMarcus Aldridge had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Rudy Gay added 15 points, Patty Mills pumped in 11 and Trey Lyles took a game-high 14 rebounds for San Antonio (14-20).
"Their record is there for a reason," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said of Milwaukee. "Tonight we made too many mistakes and had too many fouls. The competitiveness was there, and we have to play better on Monday night, give them a run and try to win a basketball game."
The Spurs played without guard Dejounte Murray, who missed the game for personal reasons.
Popovich inserted Lonnie Walker IV into the starting spot and got some needed enthusiasm and production. He scored eight points in his first NBA start.
"I thought Lonnie was wonderful," Popovich said. "He looked calm and played good, solid basketball. He's getting some things done -- he's a heck of an athlete, and he adds something to the group that we don't really have."
Saturday's game was tied at 79 with 6:57 to play in the third quarter before the Bucks put things into overdrive.
"That's been our issue all year, having lapses whether it's the second quarter or the start of the second half," DeRozan said. "It makes it tough on us to crawl back. We've got an opportunity to play these guys on our floor Monday. We know what we did wrong, and we have to just try to be better."
--Field Level Media