Finley Shines Late, Spurs Edge Bucks
San Antonio 95, Milwaukee 92
SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 18 (Ticker) -- Thanks to Michael Finley, the Milwaukee Bucks finally know how it feels to lose a close game.
Finley drilled two huge 3-pointers and was clutch at the free-throw line in the waning seconds as the San Antonio Spurs posted a 95-92 triumph over the Bucks.
"That might be the best we've played all year from start to finish," Bucks coach Terry Stotts said. "To play that way vs. San Antonio at their place. ... I thought our defense was consistent and we played hard for 48 minutes."
Finley, who scored 13 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, was a major reason the streak ended. The veteran drilled a 3-pointer from the right corner with 2:17 left to give the Spurs the lead for good, then hit another shot from the arc 28 seconds later for an 89-85 advantage.
"It doesn't matter whether you are starting or coming off the bench," said Finley, who was replaced in the starting lineup last week by Manu Ginobili. "I was in the game and I got the opportunity to knock down some open shots tonight and I did that."
Finley also made two free throws with 4.8 seconds left to give the Spurs a 93-90 lead. After Michael Redd made two foul shots on the other end, Finley converted two more from the line with 2.9 seconds to go.
Without a timeout, the Bucks were unable to send the game into overtime when T.J. Ford's 3-point banker grazed the side of the rim as time expired. The speedy point guard also lost the ball on his way to the basket with the Bucks trailing, 90-88, with 15 seconds left.
"That was the best look you were going to get at that point," said Ford, who made just 2-of-10 shots. "I got it up there. Once you get rid of the ball, once you get the look and get the shot out there and it has a chance, you can't do anything more."
Tim Duncan scored 27 points to pace the Spurs (30-9), who have won three straight to move a season-best 21 games over .500.
"Everybody comes with their best game, which is great," said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, who was critical of his team after last week's win over New Jersey. "Tonight we made a lot of mistakes but we plowed through it. In the end, we did a good job moving the ball and hitting our free throws and got the win."
Redd scored 26 points and Mo Williams netted 18 for Milwaukee, which lost its third straight game despite playing well against the defending NBA champions.
"We played as well as we have all year against a great team in San Antonio," Redd said. "It is still a loss. It's encouraging that we played better, but I would rather have the win."
Duncan scored 10 points in a tight first half that ended with the Spurs holding a 41-40 lead.
Tony Parker added 18 points and Ginobili had seven of his 16 in the third quarter for San Antonio, which shot 46 percent (32-of-70) and won despite getting outscored in the paint, 56-34.
A jumper by Finley with 5:18 left in the third quarter gave the Spurs their biggest lead at 59-50. But Redd scored six points as the Bucks closed to 69-67 entering the final period.
Rookie Andrew Bogut had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Bucks, who shot 50 percent (38-of-76) and held a 39-34 edge on the boards.
The game featured 18 lead changes.