Rose, pressed into a starting role for the injured David Robinson, scored a career-high 34 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, as the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Bucks 105-102 Tuesday night.
Duncan added 25 points and 15 rebounds, while Tony Parker had 13 points as the Spurs snapped the Bucks' six-game winning streak against them.
Rose scored eight points in each quarter except the fourth when
he had 10 to power the Spurs, who improved to 25-5 since Jan. 1. He
shot 13-of-21 from the floor in 34 minutes, grabbed nine rebounds
and had one steal.
"He was incredible,'' Duncan said. "All night he carried us.''
Rose certainly made an impression on the Bucks.
"He's a good player, but he's not a 34-point guy,'' Cassell said before offering the reason why Rose's game was so special.
"Tim Duncan is going to get the attention, but Malik just outworked us today,'' said Cassell, whose 3-pointer with 1:16 left gave Milwaukee a 102-97 lead. "He just outworked us. He got rebounds and laid it up. He was doing his job.''
Rose's energy and quickness gave the Bucks fits. His final two
points, a layup that made it 102-99, started the Spurs' final charge.
"Malik was fantastic in the post tonight,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "They're keying on Timmy so much, and the team did a good job of getting the ball to Malik.''
After Rose's basket, Bucks' center Ervin Johnson couldn't
contain Duncan and ended up fouling him. Duncan sank two free
throws with 30.6 seconds left.
Now leading by one, Kukoc raced down the baseline, but missed a
wide-open layup. Johnson fouled Duncan on the Spurs' next
possession and his two free throws made it 103-102 with 11.8
seconds left -- the 24th lead change.
After a timeout by the Bucks, Cassell worked the ball to Michael Redd, who attempted a 3-pointer and missed badly.
Steve Kerr made a pair of free throws for the final margin, and Payton's 3-point attempt rimmed out as time expired.
Rose started at center for the fifth time this season and kept the Spurs close in the first half. Averaging 8.9 points, he had 16, including a two free throws that gave the Spurs a 42-41 lead.
Neither team could pull away as the lead switched nine times,
the last time when Cassell made it 43-42 on two free throws late in
the second quarter.
Spurs rookie guard Manu Ginobili had five steals in each of
his previous two games. Against the Bucks, he had one. ... The
Bucks are 5-5 with Cassell and Payton in the backcourt. ... The
Spurs are 25-5 since Jan. 1. ... Payton gave one young fan an NBA
memory. The boy was calling, "Gary, Gary!'' as the Bucks went
through their pre-game warmups. Payton walked over, motioning to
the ushers to let him on the court. The youngster took five shots,
each from closer range as Payton wouldn't let him leave. He finally
banked one in, got a high five from Payton and went to his seat.
... The Spurs had 56 points in the paint to 30 for Milwaukee.