Preview: Bucks at Spurs
The start of a lengthy homestand gave the San Antonio Spurs a chance to quickly recover from their most lopsided defeat of the season.
The Spurs will try to keep heading in the right direction while posting their longest win streak over the Milwaukee Bucks in nearly 20 years Sunday night.
San Antonio (28-17) was blown out 104-81 in Chicago on Thursday but beat the Los Angeles Lakers 99-85 the next night in the first of six consecutive home games. Tony Parker scored a team-best 17 points, and Kawhi Leonard provided 15 and 14 rebounds.
"It’s easier to focus, to be ready when you were embarrassed," guard Manu Ginobili said. "We played a terrible game (Thursday), so we were willing to be back on the court and sort of redeem ourselves.
"That game, we’re not going to get it back but at least the bad feeling starts to fades away. It was a great thing."
The Spurs are 4-1 since Leonard’s return from a torn ligament in his right hand. They’ve also won four in a row at home and nine of 12 overall.
"I feel like the rest of the games in this stretch are important because of our record and how we’ve been losing some of these games," Leonard said. "We’re trying to focus back up and go into the All-Star break in a rhythm."
San Antonio is looking to record its first five-game win streak over Milwaukee (22-21) since a series-best, eight-game run Jan. 24, 1992-Nov. 10, 1995. The Spurs also haven’t won five in a row at home against the Bucks since a seven-game streak that ended Dec. 23, 1999.
They swept last season’s two matchups by a combined 60 points, including a 110-82 rout in San Antonio on Jan. 19, 2014. The Spurs shot the 54.3 percent in those victories and have topped 50.0 percent in seven of the last nine matchups.
Patty Mills’ 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting led seven players in double figures in the home win over Milwaukee, and Tim Duncan’s 21 on 9-of-12 shooting paced six players in double digits in a 109-77 road victory Dec. 11, 2013. Duncan has four consecutive double-doubles in the series and 21 in 31 lifetime matchups.
The Bucks avoided a season high-tying third consecutive defeat after beating Detroit 101-86 on Saturday. Their previous two games were decided by a combined five points, but a season-high 33 assists contributed to shooting a season-best 64.7 percent from 3-point range (11 for 17) and made things much easier against the Pistons.
Jerryd Bayless had eight assists, one shy of matching his season high set on Thursday in a loss to Utah, and O.J. Mayo scored a team-best 20 points and went 4 of 5 from beyond the arc.
"You know guys turned down a good shot to get a better shot for a teammate," said coach Jason Kidd, whose team made 41 field goals. "Make or miss, that’s what good teams do."
Brandon Knight had 21 points in last season’s visit to San Antonio after scoring eight in each of his prior two matchups.
The Bucks had won five consecutive road games – their longest such streak in three seasons – before a 95-87 loss to Chicago on Jan. 10.