Antetokounmpo scores 34, Bucks top Spurs 135-129
MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 34 points and 18 rebounds, rallying the Milwaukee Bucks from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the San Antonio Spurs 135-129 on Saturday night.
Antetokounmpo scored 14 points in the final period, hearing chants of “MVP! MVP!” each time he stepped to the free throw line. But he had plenty of help, with Malcolm Brogdon adding 23 points, Khris Middleton 21 and Eric Bledsoe finishing with 20 points and 10 assists.
DeMar DeRozan scored 34 points for the Spurs, who took a 106-95 lead with 11 minutes to play after a jumper by Rudy Gay.
But the Bucks roared back in a game featuring 26 lead changes, taking it for the final time when Antetokounmpo hit a pair of free throws with 2:44 left that made it 123-122.
Milwaukee kept up the pressure from there. Middleton hit a key 3-pointer, Bledsoe drove to the hoop for a contested layup and Brogdon knocked down a 3 off a drive and dish from Bledsoe with 8.9 seconds to play to put the game out of reach.
Devins Bertans came off the bench with 17 points for the Spurs, who also got 18 from Bryn Forbes and 15 from LaMarcus Aldridge.
It took San Antonio less than five minutes to wipe out Milwaukee’s early 15-point lead the Bucks built by starting 12 of 13 from the field. But the Spurs went on to lose for the sixth time in the last eight games.
Spurs: Coach Gregg Popovich called departed star Kawhi Leonard a great player, but not a leader when discussing Patty Mills’ leadership role. “Kawhi’s talent will always be missed, but that leadership wasn’t his deal at the time. That may come as he progresses,” Popovich said before the game. Leonard was traded with Danny Green to the Raptors for DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 first-round pick in the offseason.
Bucks: F Ersan Ilyasova (right knee soreness) dressed but did not play. . Antetokounmpo was fouled in the act of shooting 55 feet from the basket at the end of the first quarter by Derrick White. Antetokounmpo made all three shots. . Brook Lopez, who went 0 for 12 from 3-point range on Friday night, hit his first attempt against San Antonio.
Spurs: At Chicago on Monday for the third of a four-game trip.
Bucks: At Charlotte on Monday.