San Antonio cruised past the outmanned Bucks 104-83 Saturday
night behind Tim Duncan's 20 points, a balanced, productive offense
and a stingy-as-usual defense despite playing for the fourth time
in five days and less than 24 hours after a hard-fought,
last-second win over Detroit.
"Professionalism," coach Gregg Popovich said after his team
improved to 15-3 for the best start in franchise history. "I'm a
fortunate guy. I've got a group of guys who are of the age that
it's important to them every night. They really do believe it's
their job. And I don't have to convince them or fire them up or do
anything like that.
"So, it's a compliment to their character more than anything."
The Spurs looked tired and slow at first, but still were more
energetic and quicker than the Bucks, who lost for the ninth time
in 10 games despite the return of Joe Smith (hip, groin) from a
"We were tired, definitely," Ginobili said. "We got here at 3
a.m. It's not easy after a big effort like (Thursday night) against
Detroit. After five or six minutes that we started slow, things
started going well. We started making big shots. And our defense
was very efficient."
Smith scored 10 points in 23 minutes, but the Bucks were without
forward Keith Van Horn, who hurt his right ankle in practice.
That's been the problem with the Bucks all season: they can't
get healthy enough to get any rhythm.
"It seems like we get one healthy, one goes down," Smith said.
Shooting 67 percent, the Spurs took control in the second
quarter and built a 48-40 halftime lead on the strength of 12
points from Duncan and 10 from Ginobili. It was still an
eight-point game midway through the third quarter when Udrih scored
nine points during a 17-8 run the Spurs used to erase any doubt.
San Antonio shot 74 percent in the third quarter to stretch the
lead to 80-60, and the Bucks never got closer than 18 in the fourth
"I thought it was going to be a lot tougher game, but we found
a way to kind of pull it away," Duncan said.
The Bucks fell to 4-10 but are holding out hope that once
healthy, they can get better.
"Stay focused -- you've got to," guard Mike James said. "This
is our profession. Ain't no point in giving up now. I've known
teams that have started worse than this and ended up in the
The Spurs' halftime margin was attributable to a 10-2
advantage in second-chance points. ... The Spurs' previous best
start through 18 games was 14-4 in 1999-00. ... San Antonio took a
31-30 lead in the all-time series. ... San Antonio is 7-0 when
topping 100 points. ... Milwaukee is 1-6 against the Western