Duncan, Parker lead Spurs’ rout of Bucks
MILWAUKEE (AP) — With Tim Duncan rediscovering his shot at the same time the Bucks collectively lost theirs, the result was predictable.
Duncan had 21 points and 16 rebounds while playing just 24 minutes — single-handedly outscoring the Bucks starters — and Tony Parker added 15 points in the San Antonio Spurs’ 109-77 rout of Milwaukee on Wednesday night.
“I made some early and it helps,” said Duncan, who hit 9 of 12 shots in earning his 770th double-double, the most among active players. “My shot’s starting to come around a little bit. The first 20 games it hadn’t been there, so I hope that it stays with me.”
Milwaukee starters Khris Middleton, Ekpe Udoh, John Henson, O.J. Mayo and Brandon Knight combined for 19 points on 7-for-28 shooting. Forward Ersan Ilyasova, who logged a team-high 38 minutes, made just 3 of 16 shots.
“We did not compete on a high level tonight,” said Bucks coach Larry Drew, whose injury-riddled team trailed wire-to-wire for the third time this season. “We can’t use excuses of injuries or having played last night. We faced a real good basketball team tonight, but the disappointment lies in the fact that we didn’t compete at a high level. We didn’t lay it on the line. We didn’t play as hard as we should have.”
San Antonio had lost three of its last six games after starting the season 13-1, but dominated from the opening tip, scoring the first nine points. An 8-0 run extended the Spurs lead to 27-10.
The Bucks trailed 32-16 after one quarter. The Spurs held a 17-4 rebounding advantage in the opening period, when the Bucks managed just one defensive rebound.
Duncan had 12 points and eight rebounds in the first quarter. His six field goals in the period matched the Bucks’ team total.
“He can do it outside, he can do it outside,” Drew said. “He’s a good rebounder, he’s a good passer. I actually thought he moved up and down the floor as well as I’ve seen him move up and down the floor in some time. It just seems like he continues to get better and better, and I have not seen any slippage in his game.”
The Bucks pulled within 41-30 on two free throws by Miroslav Raduljica, but the Spurs responded with a 10-0 run to lead 51-30 with 4:18 left in the half. The Bucks went scoreless for 4:02 during the Spurs’ surge, missing all five shot attempts and committing three turnovers.
The Spurs led 63-40 at the half and extended it to 92-54 entering the final period.
“It happens to everybody,” said Spurs coach Greg Popovich. “They just couldn’t put it in the hole tonight. We got a big lead. We shot it very well in the first half and they had a tough time, and I thought our defense was really good.”
Kawhi Leonard scored 13 points, Marco Belinelli added 11, and Danny Green and Cory Joseph had 10 apiece for the Spurs, who shot 52.3 percent, despite making only 4 of 17 3-point attempts. Jeff Ayers, subbing for injured center Tiago Splitter, did not score, but had 10 rebounds in 25 minutes.
“They’re a pretty good basketball team,” Drew said. “I don’t think there’s any other way to cut it. They’re as good as any offensive executing team in our league. The pace with which they run the offense, the way they pass the ball — they’ll go isolation with Tim some — but the way they move that basketball is absolutely phenomenal. From my point of few, they are as good as any offensive executing team in our league.”
Rookie guard Nate Wolters led the Bucks with a season-high 18 points and 19-year-old Giannis Antetokounmpo, the league’s youngest player, had 15 points. Milwaukee, which had won two of its last three, has yet to win consecutive games.
“They’re pretty impressive,” Wolters said. “Just a really unselfish team who makes the extra pass. It seemed like we really had no answer defensively. No matter what we did they were getting open looks. They’re really good.”
The 32-point loss was the most lopsided of the season for the Bucks, who had lost by 27 points to Indiana in the midst of an 11-game losing streak.
NOTES: Bucks guard Gary Neal, who spent the previous three seasons with the Spurs, was looking forward to playing against his former team, but was out of the lineup after receiving an injection Tuesday for plantar fasciitis in his left foot. … Splitter did not make the two-game trip to Toronto and Milwaukee because of tightness in his left calf. … Spurs center Aron Baynes, who had a season-high 14 points Tuesday night in a 116-103 victory at Toronto, did not play due to a sprained ankle.