|5:30 PM PT6:30 PM MT7:30 PM CT8:30 PM ET1:30 GMT9:30 6:30 PM MST8:30 PM EST5:30 UAE (+1)02:3020:30 ET7:30 PM CT23:30 , January 4, 2020
Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Attendance: 18,002
Bucks riding high as they host the up-and-down Spurs
San Antonio Spurs at Milwaukee Bucks
- Milwaukee had won four straight in this series before a 121-114 loss in San Antonio last March. Each of the last six series meetings has been decided by seven or fewer points.
- Milwaukee's 31-5 record is the best in franchise history through 36 games in a season. The last Eastern Conference team with as many wins through 36 games was the Pistons in 2005-06 (also 31-5).
- San Antonio finished the 2010s with 554 wins -- 39 more than the next-closest team (Thunder, 515). The Spurs also led the NBA in wins over the previous decade (2000-09), with 574.
- DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 30 points in Thursday's 109-103 loss to the Thunder, his first 30-point game since November 20. San Antonio is 0-3 when DeRozan scores 30 or more this season, compared to a 7-6 record last season.
- LaMarcus Aldridge is shooting a career-best 43.8 percent from three-point range, on a career-high 2.1 attempts per contest. He's made 31.0 percent from beyond the arc in the first quarter of games (9/29), compared to 55.9 percent in the second through fourth quarters (19/34).
- Giannis Antetokounmpo ranks second in the NBA with 30.4 points per game (James Harden, 38.2 entering Friday). The only Bucks player all-time to average 30+ points per game in a season was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who did it four times in the early 1970s.
- Team LeBron wins revamped All-Star Game
- Leonard wins Bryant All-Star MVP award
- Magic leads tribute for Kobe, Stern
- Jones tops Gordon in epic dunk contest
- Hield wins 3-point contest on last shot
The Milwaukee Bucks have, by far, the best record in the NBA, but that will mean nothing when they host the enigmatic San Antonio Spurs on Saturday for the first of back-to-back, away-and-home games between the two teams.
The Bucks and Spurs will also tussle on Monday in San Antonio.
Milwaukee welcomes the Spurs after a rough-and-tumble 106-104 win at home over Minnesota on New Year's Day. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points and 17 rebounds in the victory, securing his 30th double-double in 33 games this season.
Khris Middleton added 13 points for the Bucks despite shooting 5 for 18 from the floor. Brook Lopez scored 11 points and Eric Bledsoe had 10.
Milwaukee shot just 42.6 percent from the field and hit only 9 of 36 from beyond the arc.
"We're not playing our best, but still finding a way to win is good," Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer said afterward. "But this isn't the formula."
The triumph was the fourth in a row for Milwaukee and seventh in its past eight games. The Bucks (31-5) are off to the best 36-game start in franchise history. The 1971-72 squad, led by Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, dropped game No. 36 for a 30-6 mark.
The Bucks have not lost to a team this year with a record below .500.
"You don't even think about that," Antetokounmpo said. "We just go out there and we feel like we're gonna win the game, and that we're going to get the job done. Doesn't really matter if the opponent is above .500 or below .500. We just take it day by day, try to be in the present, hopefully, a lot of good moments for the team."
The Spurs begin the double-dip against the league's best after a 109-104 loss at home to surging Oklahoma City on Thursday.
The Thunder won a regular-season game in San Antonio for the first time since Dec. 25, 2014, outscoring the Spurs 63-48 in the second half.
DeMar DeRozan led all scorers with 30 points for San Antonio, which had a two-game winning streak snapped. It was DeRozan's sixth straight game of more than 21 points.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Lonnie Walker IV pumped in 16 points off the bench, nine of them in the fourth quarter, in the loss.
Aldridge went 4 for 4 on 3-pointers just two games after setting a career-high with five 3-pointers.
The Spurs had been winning of late by attacking the basket and by finding some key points from 3-point range. That changed Thursday against the Thunder, prompting San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich to criticize his team's lack of aggressiveness.
"We didn't move the ball very well -- we were on the dribble too much," Popovich told to San Antonio Express-News. "We didn't really attack. They attacked a lot better than we did, just straight ahead at the rim, found people."
The Bucks and Spurs split their season series last year, with each team winning on their home court. San Antonio owns a 49-40 all-time edge over the Bucks but is just 19-26 in games played in Milwaukee.
Budenholzer was an assistant coach with the Spurs for 17 seasons and spent his first two seasons as a video coordinator
--Field Level Media
Updated January 4, 2020