SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Manu Ginobili learned his lesson about driving to the basket against the NBA’s leading shot blocker. So instead of going at Andrew Bogut with the clock winding down, the San Antonio guard settled for a fallaway jumper.
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Ginobili scored the last of his 26 points as time expired, lifting the Spurs over Milwaukee 92-90 on Wednesday night for their sixth consecutive victory.
Ginobili hit a 17-footer from the left elbow over the outstretched arm of Luc Mbah a Moute, who missed a shot that would have given Milwaukee the lead seconds earlier.
“I had the opportunity, the trust of my teammates that I could hit the shot,” Ginobili said. “Most of the time, it doesn’t go in. It’s not a high-percentage shot but I’m glad we won.”
Ginobili had been denied twice by Bogut — who leads the league in blocks at 2.88 per game — in the fourth. So with the final seconds ticking away, Ginobili dribbled to his left and pulled up. He scored the final six points for San Antonio.
The Spurs improved their NBA-best record to 21-3 and stayed unbeaten against Eastern Conference teams. They also wrapped up a 6-0 homestand.
“Manu hit a (heck) of a shot to pull it out for us,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.
Chris Douglas-Roberts had 21 points and Drew Gooden added 20 for the Bucks, who also marveled at Ginobili’s game-winner — even though coach Scott Skiles said the Argentine got away with traveling.
“It was great D. (Mbah a Moute) made him travel. We just looked at it about five times,” Skiles said.
Mbah a Moute said he did everything he could defensively.
“I knew they were going to him,” he said. “He likes to go left. He went left, I cut him off, he stepped back and made the shot.”
Milwaukee couldn’t pull off its second upset in a row after ending Dallas’ 12-game winning streak Monday.
San Antonio led by double digits for most of the third, but Milwaukee went on a 12-4 run and Brandon Jennings hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut the deficit to eight.
Gooden scored 13 of Milwaukee’s first 17 points in the fourth and a tip-in off Jennings’ miss to tie the game at 90 with 47 seconds left.
Bogut had two of his seven blocks on consecutive Spurs possessions late in the fourth, leading to Gooden’s basket that tied it.
But Tim Duncan grabbed the rebound of Moute’s miss and immediately called timeout to set up Ginobili’s game-winner.
Skiles and the Bucks sounded more disappointed with their final possession than Ginobili’s shot. Skiles said the play was drawn up to get Bogut the ball in the post, but that broke down when Gooden couldn’t get the big man the entry pass.
Instead, Jennings forced a pass to Mbah a Moute on the baseline with the shot clock winding down. The jumper missed, and Duncan corralled it.
“I tried to tip it,” Gooden said. “I should have grabbed it.”
Gooden opened the fourth with seven straight points, including a bank shot off Jennings’ pass that helped spark Milwaukee’s rally.
Duncan finished with 13 points and a season-high seven blocks, while Tony Parker scored 16 and Richard Jefferson added 11 points for San Antonio.
Jennings had a scare just before halftime, when he came down awkwardly on a layup attempt with Parker defending. The second-year guard immediately grabbed his left knee and was attended to on the Bucks’ sideline, but he returned to start the third.
Ginobili led the charge in the opening quarter by scoring six points to help build a 17-6 lead that prompted Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles to call a timeout.
The Bucks managed to regroup, with Bogut hitting back-to-back shots to get Milwaukee back in rhythm. Douglas-Roberts hit a 3 and converted a three-point play to cut the San Antonio lead to 25-20 after the first quarter.
NOTES: Spurs F/C Tiago Splitter left in the third with a bruise on his right side. He is day-to-day.