It will be a classic case of hot versus cold when the torrid Milwaukee Bucks, who sport the best record in basketball, travel to play the struggling San Antonio Spurs on Friday.
The Bucks have won 10 of their 11 games and play in San Antonio for the only time this season after a 136-132 win at Oklahoma City in double overtime on Wednesday. Jevon Carter carried the offensive load for Milwaukee with 36 points and 12 assists, setting a career high in both categories and doubling his previous season best in scoring.
Brook Lopez added 24 points and 13 rebounds for the Bucks, who bounced back from their only loss of the season after capturing their first nine contests.
“It was a character win,” Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer said afterward. “Guys were doing whatever it took at both ends of the court. A lot of guys individually stood out but collectively the effort was really good. Just finding a way to win a tough game on the road. Proud of the guys.”
MarJon Beauchamp hit for a career-best 19 points, Grayson Allen had 18, Bobby Portis contributed 13 and George Hill scored a season-best-tying 12 off the bench for Milwaukee, which played without Giannis Antetokounmpo (sore left knee) and Jrue Holiday (sprained right ankle).
The pair went through shootaround Wednesday morning before being ruled out. Of the two, Antetokounmpo is more likely to play Friday.
“We had a lot of guys step up and play a big role in the win tonight,” Portis said. “A lot of guys got defensive stops, made a lot of baskets. Ultimately, it was a great team win.”
It’s out of the heat and into the frying pan for the Spurs, who look to snap a five-game losing streak with the latest setback a 124-222 overtime defeat at home to Memphis on Wednesday.
San Antonio had shots to win the game with a final possession in both regulation and at the end of overtime, but Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell, respectively, missed with the game in the balance.
“Great game — our guys were fantastic against a heck of a basketball team,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said afterward. “To play (Memphis) the way we did feels really good. You’re always disappointed when you lose but there’s so many good things. These guys are growing.”
Jakob Poeltl and Vassell led the Spurs with 22 points apiece in Wednesday’s loss, with Johnson scoring 16, Josh Richardson and Jeremy Sochan adding 13 apiece, Tre Jones hitting for 11 points and dishing out 11 assists and Charles Bassey tallying 10 for San Antonio.
“We had a couple of chances to win the game, but it just didn’t fall,” Poeltl said. “We got to learn from those experiences. We haven’t been in those positions a lot.”
After a hot start that saw the Spurs win five of their seven games, they are struggling to get back in the victory column. It hasn’t helped that San Antonio has faced some of the best teams in the league — with its losses over their five-game swoon coming against opponents with a combined record of 38-20.
–Field Level Media