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Defensive-minded Spurs do battle with Bucks
(Sports Network) - Moving the ball and forcing turnovers have been the calling card for the San Antonio Spurs. The current leaders in the Southwest Division look to continue the trend when they open a quick road trip Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center.
The Spurs, who have won a season-high six straight games, are forcing 15.1 turnovers per game and have coaxed opposing teams into 15-plus miscues in 19 games this season, going 15-4 in that stretch. They also rank first in assists with 25.5 apg and have handed out 30-plus assists six times already (6-0).
San Antonio had 25 assists in a 104-73 demolition of the Brooklyn Nets Monday night as Tony Parker collected six of them to go along with 20 points. Tim Duncan scored 15 points for the Spurs, whose 30-5 advantage in the third quarter sealed the deal. The Nets made only 2-of-20 shots in the third quarter compared to the Spurs' 13-of-19 clip.
"We played great defense in the third quarter. Defense has been great the last two games," Parker said. "We're on the right track."
Parker is the only player in the NBA averaging at least 19.0 points, 7.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds.
The Spurs have won by 20-plus points in four of the past five contests and are tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for the most wins in the NBA (25). The Spurs, rated third in the league with 105.6 ppg, will also visit New York on Thursday and are 12-6 outside of the Alamo City.
Milwaukee will get a taste of Texas when it hosts both San Antonio and Houston during an upcoming homestand. The Bucks are 9-6 as the host and have won two in a row at the Bradley Center.
The Bucks had won two straight and three of four games until suffering a 96-94 setback at Detroit on Sunday. Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince scored 20 points and hit the go-ahead free throws with 10.9 seconds left, while Monta Ellis recorded 30 points to lead Milwaukee. Ellis was the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played Dec. 24-30.
Ersan Ilyasova added 24 points off the bench in a losing cause. Detroit grabbed an early 13-0 lead and lost its edge in the fourth quarter, but Prince was able to get the hosts back on top down the stretch.
"(Detroit) outplayed us except for maybe six to eight minutes the whole game," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. "They deserved to win and we had chances to try and steal it at the end. They were more physical and had a lot more energy. We had trouble finding a lineup that could kind of get some cohesive energy going."
The Bucks lost for the fourth straight time when playing on the second night of a back-to-back, going 2-5 this season in those situations. Brandon Jennings, second on the Bucks with 17.6 ppg, scored nine points against the Pistons and has made at least one 3-pointer in a career-best 17 straight games.
Milwaukee was handed a 110-99 loss at San Antonio on Dec. 5 this season and has lost five of the previous six encounters between the clubs.
01/02 10:36:36 ET