Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/4

Game 1: Saturday, December 4th
Game 2: Wednesday, January 12th

Spurs 104

(15-3, 7-3 away)

Bucks 83

(4-10, 4-3 home)

    Coverage: KRRT

    7:30 PM ET, December 4, 2004

    BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI

    1 2 3 4 T
    SA 18 30 32 24104
    MIL 21 19 20 2383

    Top Performers

    SA: T. Duncan 20 Pts, 7 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl, 5 Blk

    Mil: D. Mason 18 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl

    Duncan leads balanced attack

    MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Even on tired legs, the San Antonio Spurs were too much for the Milwaukee Bucks.

    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 shot 57 percent from the floor and got 13 points apiece from Tony Parker, Beno Udrih and Devin Brown and 12 from Manu Ginobili in winning their NBA-best seventh straight game.

    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 three-game absence.

    "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."

    As usual.

    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.

    Desmond Mason led Milwaukee with 18 points and Michael Redd had 15.

    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 quarter.

    "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 playoffs."

    Game notes

    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 Conference.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 104 83
    FGM-FGA 43-75 (.573) 32-72 (.444)
    3PM-3PA 4-14 (.286) 1-8 (.125)
    FTM-FTA 14-16 (.875) 18-24 (.750)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-32 8-29
    Assists 28 18
    Turnovers 14 15
    Steals 6 9
    Blocks 7 3
    Fast Break Points 17 15
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 20 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 27 7

    Top Performers

    San Antonio
    Tim Duncan Duncan
    Points: 20
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 5
    Desmond Mason Mason
    Points: 18
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0