Antetokounmpo's big night helps Bucks trounce Spurs 130-94
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 31 points and 14 rebounds in just 24 minutes as the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks rolled to a 130-94 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.
The Bucks extended their Eastern Conference advantage to 2 1/2 games over the Boston Celtics as they prepare for a four-game road swing that includes a matchup Saturday with the Western Conference-leading Denver Nuggets.
Antetokounmpo rested the entire fourth quarter and watched the Bucks put the finishing touches on their most lopsided win of the season
Bobby Portis and Khris Middleton added 19 points each for the Bucks, who never trailed. Middleton also had 10 assists, while Portis had 10 rebounds.
Devin Vassell scored 16 points to lead the Spurs.
San Antonio was playing for a second straight night and was missing leading scorer Keldon Johnson for a second consecutive game due to a neck strain. The Spurs also didn’t have usual starter Tre Jones, who was out with a sore left foot after playing Tuesday in a 119-84 loss at New Orleans.
After trailing by 13 in the first quarter, San Antonio got within two points a couple of times in the second period. But after Keita Bates-Diop’s three-point play cut Milwaukee’s lead to 51-49 with 2:41 left in the second, the Bucks outscored the Spurs 15-2 to close the first half.
That spurt included consecutive dunks by Antetokounmpo, the first coming on a putback and the second on an alley-oop from Khris Middleton. Milwaukee capped the run with 3-pointers from Pat Connaughton and Joe Ingles, who beat the buzzer with his shot from the corner in front of the Bucks’ bench.
The Bucks then poured it on in the second half.
Spurs: Sandro Mamukelashvili got a warm reception from the Fiserv Forum crowd as he faced Milwaukee for the first time since the Bucks waived him March 1. Mamukelashvili had 12 points and seven rebounds. “He's European, which makes me love him right off the bat because I think those guys are unbelievably well-coached and overall understand the game better than most of us here,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said before the game. “He moves without the ball. He shoots it pretty well. He can pass. He's got good speed. I like everything about him.”
Bucks: Jae Crowder missed a third straight game with a sore left calf. “He's making good progress,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said before the game. “Hopefully he continues in a positive direction. When he's ready, they'll let us know, but I think it's relatively short and in the near future.” ... Goran Dragic remains out with a sore left knee and still hasn't made his Bucks debut since signing on March 4. Meyers Leonard missed a second straight game with a sore left calf.
Spurs: At Washington on Friday for the third game of a four-game trip. The Spurs lost at home to the Wizards 127-106 on Jan. 30.
Bucks: At Utah on Friday to open a four-game trip. The Bucks beat the Jazz 123-97 in Milwaukee on Dec. 17.
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Steve Megargee, The Associated Press