Preview: Bucks at Spurs
SAN ANTONIO -- The San Antonio Spurs look to continue their recent run of success when they host the reeling Milwaukee Bucks on Friday at the AT&T Center.
San Antonio, despite a slew of players missing with injuries, has won three consecutive games after losing four in a row. The Spurs (7-4) will be playing the fifth contest of a six-game homestand.
On Tuesday, the Spurs posted a 120-97 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in which they roared back from a halftime deficit and scored a season-high 40 points in the third quarter, 26 of which came over the final six minutes.
LaMarcus Aldridge led San Antonio with 25 points and Danny Green added a season-high 24 points against Los Angeles. Rudy Gay tallied a season-high-tying 22 points while Pau Gasol hit for 19 points and grabbed a team-best eight rebounds.
"We need this kind and balance and contribution from a bunch of players, especially with some of our guys out right now," Green said. "It still starts with defense for us, regardless of how well we play on offense. We adjusted, make some better plays and communicated better there in the third quarter."
San Antonio shot 53.6 percent and had 33 assists in the victory.
"They are just trying to do what we want them to do," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of his players. "Making shots has been a problem for us in some games. We've got some guys who are shooting very poorly as compared to their history, but (against the Clippers) they shot the way they have for most of their careers. We hit the open man and were in attack mode."
Popovich announced prior to the Tuesday game that star forward Kawhi Leonard's recovery from an offseason quadriceps injury is headed in the right direction, but the rehab has "just been taking a little bit longer."
"Kawhi's just coming along more slowly for whatever reason," Popovich said. "It's just been more difficult for him to get through the rehab routine, so his body hasn't reacted the same way."
Leonard has not played a game this season due to the injury to his right leg. The Spurs have stayed afloat without Leonard, who was an MVP candidate last season, and venerable point guard Tony Parker.
Milwaukee heads to the Alamo City for the only time this season on the heels of a 124-119 loss at Cleveland on Tuesday.
Bucks coach Jason Kidd was fined $15,000 by the NBA for his public criticism of officiating after that defeat, the league announced Thursday.
The Bucks (4-6) were whistled for 31 fouls in the game, which led to the Cavaliers attempting 38 free throws. Conversely, Milwaukee only had 16 free-throw attempts.
"No matter if you have three officials out there or six officials, they're getting the call," Kidd said after the game, per the Journal Sentinel of Milwaukee. "That's disappointing because the game is being won or lost by the free-throw line.
"We're outscoring our opponent, we're making more twos and threes and we're losing it at the free-throw line. We have to do a better job of not fouling and making sure that the officials understand that there are fouls at the other end, too."
Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, the NBA's top scorer at 31.9 points per game, had a game-high 40 points and added nine rebounds in the loss to Cleveland. He has scored at least 28 points in nine of Milwaukee's 10 games.
Malcolm Brogdon scored 22 points and Khris Middleton finished with 20 points and 11 assists for the Bucks, who lost their fourth straight contest.
Milwaukee acquired guard Eric Bledsoe from the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday for injured center Greg Monroe and two protected 2018 draft picks. Kidd said Bledsoe would take his physical and was expected to join the team for Friday's game.
"He's a great player, and he's a great guy, too," Antetokounmpo said of Bledsoe. "I'm looking forward to meeting him in San Antonio. He's going to help the team, and he's going to make the game easier for everybody."
The two teams split their season series last year, with each winning on the road.