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Spurs, Bucks collide in Alamo City
(Sports Network) - The San Antonio Spurs, fresh off a great victory Saturday over the Memphis Grizzlies, but $250,000 poorer, will host the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday night at the AT&T Center.
The Spurs needed overtime Saturday night to best their Southwest Division rivals. It was their first game since head coach Gregg Popovich sent stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green home before Thursday's huge, nationally-televised game against the defending champion Miami Heat.
The Spurs were fined $250,000 for the move the NBA perceived as a slap to the face of the fans.
Popovich did what he thought was best. The Spurs were at the end of a six-game road trip and his makeshift group gave the Heat a run before falling 105-100.
Popovich's concerns may have been well-founded. With Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson already out of action, Green and Gary Neal, a starter in Leonard's absence, didn't practice earlier in the week.
"I'm pretty concerned for Wednesday," Popovich admitted after practice on Monday.
His decision to send that quartet home on a commercial flight had to do with the big showdown with Memphis. The Spurs prevailed in overtime, 99-95, thanks to 30 points from Parker and 27 points and 15 rebounds from a rejuvenated Duncan.
The Spurs held the Grizz to 36.4 percent shooting from the floor. San Antonio forced 20 Memphis turnovers, which is almost five more per game than the Grizzlies average.
The Bucks head to San Antonio losers of six of their last eight. They fell in New Orleans to the Hornets on Monday, 102-81.
"Anybody who has seen us play knows that when we're really moving the ball around, we're really hard to guard. When we start dribbling too much, we get in trouble," said Bucks head coach Scott Skiles. "It seemed like we dribbled into crowds tonight and had trouble getting out of crowds, turned it over, they went down and made shots and usually you're not going to give a team 27 points off of turnovers and come out and win a game."
Milwaukee was led by Brandon Jennings and his 25 points. Backcourt mate Monta Ellis chipped in 17, but no other player reached double-figures.
Larry Sanders continued to be a force on the interior with seven blocked shots against the Hornets. He is averaging 7.33 bpg over his last three and has out- blocked the three teams the Bucks have played by himself.
Offense has been a problem of late for the Bucks. They've been held under 100 points in six straight, which is the longest such run since the team acquired Ellis last season.
The Spurs, who went 5-0 on that road trip before the loss in South Beach and have won seven of their last nine, fell to the Bucks in the only meeting between the two last season, but won four in a row prior to that.
12/05 10:53:12 ET