Resting key players last week led to a hefty fine for the San
This time, they’re not likely to draw that kind of attention
from the commissioner.
Injuries may cause the Spurs to be without as many as four
players as they go for a seventh win in eight tries Wednesday night
against the sputtering Milwaukee Bucks.
Coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs (14-4) drew national
attention and the ire of commissioner David Stern when they sent
four starters home ahead of a nationally televised 105-100 loss at
Miami on Thursday, which capped a six-game, nine-day road trip.
Stern issued a statement apologizing to fans and later fined San
The rest may have helped the Spurs to Saturday’s 99-95 overtime
win against Southwest Division rival Memphis. Tony Parker had 30
points while Tim Duncan scored a season-high 27 with 15 rebounds
after both were rested two days earlier with Manu Ginobili and
Now, resting players may not be optional for Popovich.
San Antonio is dealing with injuries to Green (left hamstring),
Gary Neal (Achilles), Kawhi Leonard (right knee) and Stephen
Jackson (finger). Green, averaging 9.8 points, exited Saturday’s
victory after failing to register a point while missing seven
field-goal attempts in 19 minutes.
Neal, scoring 11.1 points per game, is averaging 17.3 over the
past three contests.
“Pretty concerned about Wednesday,” Popovich said. “We’ll see
what the status is with Gary and Danny. We’ve played (Boris Diaw)
at (small forward) on the road trip, so we could not overplay some
people. That’ll probably continue.”
Diaw is known for his aggressive defensive play and is only
averaging 5.8 points. However, he scored 12 with six rebounds as a
starter against the Heat before returning to the bench Saturday and
contributing three points.
“We’re very lucky that we have a very deep team,” Ginobili said.
“Of course, missing three of our small forwards is hard, but
hopefully we’re going to be able to mask it.”
Playing at home may also help since the Spurs have won seven of
the last nine meetings when the Bucks (8-8) visit. Ginobili hit a
17-foot, fade-away buzzer beater to give the Spurs a 92-90 victory
in the most recent matchup in San Antonio on Dec. 15, 2010.
With Ginobili out due to a broken hand, San Antonio fell 106-103
at Milwaukee on Jan. 10 in the only matchup last season.
The Bucks may get another chance to capitalize on absences for
the Spurs after losing for the sixth time in eight games Monday,
102-81 at New Orleans.
“When we’re really moving the ball around, we’re really hard to
guard,” coach Scott Skiles said. “When we start dribbling too much,
we get in trouble.”
Milwaukee relies heavily on guards Monta Ellis and Brandon
Jennings, who lead the team with averages of 18.6 and 17.0 points,
“Those guys can get hot and take over a game,” Neal said. “We
know that going in. We’re just going to stay focused defensively
and hope they have a bad game.”
Ellis is averaging 27.4 points over his last nine games against
the Spurs, but they all ended in losses with Golden State. He had
38 points while shooting 15 of 30 from the floor and added seven
assists in a 101-95 defeat Jan. 4, two months before being traded
Jennings, who had a team-high 25 points Monday, scored 15 with
11 assists against San Antonio last season, with four of those
points coming in the final minutes to put the Bucks ahead for